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Liverpool could face UEFA sanctions if they continue to push for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Manuel Ugarte, according to reports. The Portuguese club have accused Liverpool of harassing the player in the middle of the season and aren’t happy with the way they have gone about their business.
Ugarte has been linked with a move away from the Lions in the summer with many top clubs interested in acquiring his services. Liverpool are at the top of the pile but Sporting have raised concerns that the Reds spoke to the player earlier this season when they had ‘forbidden’ Ugarte from talking to clubs.
According to Portuguese publication Correio da Manhã via Sport Witness Sporting have threatened legal action if proven guilty. Under UEFA and FIFA rules, teams are not allowed to speak to players without the parent club’s permission.
If they have broken the rules then Liverpool would be looking at a hefty fine or, in the worst-case scenario, a transfer ban. This comes after Ugarte’s agent, Jorge Chijane, affirmed that his client could be out of the door in a matter of days.
“Liverpool? There is a lot of talk, but it is not the only club, there are others,” said Chijane. “There is much talk, but I am still not sure about the club. There are many possibilities on the table.
“It’s almost certain that he won’t stay, it’s sure he’ll leave. I believe that in 15 days the situation will be resolved. Soon I’ll be in Lisbon. I trust Jorge Mendes, who is the best agent in the world. In fact, when I told him about Ugarte for the first time, he said to me: ‘Your eyes are my eyes.’”
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Ugarte has a £52m (€60m) buyout clause in his contract which runs out in 2026. Liverpool are understood to be happy to match the valuation but face stiff competition for the 22-year-old’s signature with Arsenal and Tottenham also interested in bringing him in.
Ugarte plays mostly as a defensive midfielder and is noted for his high work rate and tenacious tackling. The Uruguayan international averages 4.78 successful tackles per 90 minutes and 2.0 interceptions. Compare that to Reds holding midfielder Fabinho, who he would likely be brought in to replace and it’s clear to see why.
The Brazilian completes on average 1.8 tackles every 90 minutes in the Premier League and one interception – half of Ugarte’s numbers, who is seven years his junior.
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