Portuguese newspaper Record claim Leeds United have opened talks to sign Sporting Lisbon midfielder Manuel Ugarte with Victor Orta a keen admirer of the player – but they will face competition from the likes of Tottenham.

Ugarte, 22, has clocked up 79 games for Sporting since joining the club from Familicao. In that time, he has become a key part of the side that won the Portuguese title – and reached the Europa League quarter-finals this season.

Indeed, he has become a Uruguay international in that time, too – winning eight caps. O Jogo reported last month that Tottenham, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Wolves are all considering a move to bring Ugarte to England.

Certainly, after watching him shine against Arsenal in the Europa League recently – despite being sent off in extra time during his side’s penalty-shootout win. Now, it is claimed that Leeds have opened talks to sign the midfielder.

Indeed, Victor Orta and Leeds are said to have spoken to his agents – but a move obviously depends on Premier League survival. It is unclear how much Sporting want – but his release clause is currently valued at £53million.

Sporting CP v FC Arouca - Liga Portugal Bwin
Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Leeds open talks to sign Sporting Lisbon midfielder Manuel Ugarte

Ugarte would be a wonderful signing for Leeds, and quite the coup. But nothing is going to happen if Leeds fail to stay in the Premier League and that of course, will be the priority right now. Our midfield does require surgery.

Weston McKennie has hardly done enough to convince the Leeds board that he is worth the £35m permanent fee. Tyler Adams’ injury has highlighted the need for more depth in the middle – as has Marc Roca’s form of late.

Danny Murphy has been critical of the Spaniard. Not only do Leeds more depth, but they need a player that can go alongside Adams – if the club stay up. The “tireless” Ugarte would be superb in the middle of the Leeds park.

Sporting CP v CD Santa Clara - Liga Portugal Bwin
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