Liverpool ‘ready’ to trigger midfielder’s release clause; Reds ‘go to war’ with Chelsea over €40m star

Lewis Oldham
Liverpool target Ugarte

Liverpool are reportedly ‘ready’ to join Ligue 1 giants PSG in triggering Manuel Ugarte’s release clause in an attempt to sign him from Sporting Lisbon.

The Reds are being linked with plenty of midfielders ahead of this summer’s transfer window.

They are expected to sign two or three new players in that position after James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain leave when their contracts expire.

Liverpool are likely to recruit a holding midfielder and a more attacking-minded operator. Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister, Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Wolves’ Matheus Nunes are among their options.

Ugarte has also emerged as a potential target in recent months. The defensive midfielder has come of age this season as he has played 47 games across all competitions for Sporting Lisbon.

He is under contract until 2026 and there is believed to be a €60m release clause in his contract. Earlier this week, it was reported that PSG ‘will trigger’ this buy-out option this summer.

The French outfit are still going to face competition in the race for Ugarte, though. Le Parisien (via Sport Witness) are reporting that Liverpool are ‘ready to put €60m on the table as well’.

The report points out that Chelsea would also ‘like’ to trigger Ugarte’s release clause before it is too late.

Liverpool are keeping their options open ahead of this summer and Romeo Lavia is also being linked with a move to Anfield following Southampton’s relegation. The Saints have endured a shocking season but Lavia has been one of their more consistent performers.

Spanish outlet Fichajes believe Liverpool and Chelsea are ‘ready to go to war over Lavia’.

Southampton ‘will ask for around 40 million euros’ for their prized asset this summer. Man City have the option ‘to match any offer for Lavia’ but ‘everything indicates that Pep Guardiola has no interest’ in re-signing the midfielder.

But Liverpool and Chelsea ‘see great potential in Lavia and believe that he can contribute a lot to their respective teams’.

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Liverpool legend John Barnes is “open” to his former club making a move for Lavia.

“Of course, Southampton got relegated and their defensive midfielders and defenders were under a lot of pressure. To be honest, if any Southampton player were that great, they wouldn’t have been relegated,” Barnes told Futfanatico.

“But from an individual perspective, he could be a player that Liverpool is looking at and Lavia is a good player. Right now, I’m quite open to any defensive midfielder at Liverpool.”

On Ruben Neves, Barnes added: “Ruben Neves is a great midfielder and in my opinion, Liverpool needs defensive midfielders like Caicedo or Bellingham. That’s what they need.”

“But he is a good midfielder that also can defend and he can drop down between the back four. He is really good when the team is in position, so he would be an ideal midfield player for us.”

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