This summer, Wolves could be losing a number of midfield players – and Manuel Ugarte is someone the club need to be tracking.
Ruben Neves is enjoying another wonderful campaign. But it’s very possible it could be his last.
He was expected to depart last summer but ultimately no suitable bids were forthcoming. He stayed put and assumed the captaincy.
Although Julen Lopetegui has changed the landscape at the club, it would still be a real surprise if Neves stuck around for one more campaign. Especially since he’ll have one year left on his deal this summer.
Joao Moutinho could also leave. He’s out of contract and at the age of 36, Wolves may feel it’s time to finally replace the veteran.
And Matheus Nunes is reportedly on the radars of clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea. Hopefully he doesn’t go, but the prospect of turning a quick profit might be on Wolves’ mind.
Any combination of that trio could leave, and so it’s very likely Wolves will be in the market for new midfielders this summer.
And one man they should be in for is Manuel Ugarte of Sporting CP.
Wolves were linked with him during the January transfer window. Nothing materialised, but the club should be keeping tabs on him.
The Uruguay international has been a revelation for the Portuguese outfit since the departure of Nunes to Wolves.
In the recent 2-1 defeat to FC Porto, Ugarte impressed, completing 41/47 passes (87%, Sofascore). He also made three interceptions and two tackles and won 5/8 duels.
Against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, he completed 66/73 passes (90%), won 8/11 duels and made two interceptions and five tackles.
He is a defensive minded player with a fantastic passing range, which potentially makes him a fine replacement for Neves specifically.
He is a midfield workhorse, with the technical quality to boot.
Wolves simply must keep tabs on Sporting midfielder Manuel Ugarte
Wolves and Sporting have a good relationship following the deal for Nunes.
And the club should definitely look to do business with them again this summer over Ugarte.
The star is still only 21 and has major potential. He looks very accomplished already and seems like he would be a really good fit at Molineux. As a Spanish speaker playing in Portugal, it’s likely his transition at Molineux would be a fairly smooth one.
Supposedly, he has a £54 million release clause which could be slightly problematic.
But Wolves have done some great deals recently, and officials may feel there’s a chance of getting him for a lower fee. Especially since that relationship is there after the Nunes deal.