Report claims Leeds Utd plan to shatter record for €60m Sporting star also wanted by Wolves

Leeds United are being linked with an ambitious move for a Sporting Lisbon star regarded as one of South America’s best midfielders – although any potential deal would net the Whites a club-record fee.

The Whites are showing signs they can safe themselves under new boss Javi Gracia. Indeed, their improvement has been noticeable since he succeeded Jesse Marsch, with the club taking seven points from their last four games.

Their most recent success – a glorious 4-2 win over Wolves at Molineux – moved Leeds from 19th to 14th in a tightly-packed Premier League table.

As a result, Leeds went into the current international break in a much better mood than before. Their campaign continues next Saturday with a tricky journey to face in-form leaders Arsenal. And with 22 wins from 28 games played so far, Leeds need to be at their best to take anything away from the Gunners.

As such, little can be finalized on their summer transfer activity until Leeds know which division they will play in next season.

Should they go down, there will likely be a string of high-profile departures. To that end, the likes of Willy Gnonto, Tyler Adams, Robin Koch and Illan Meslier will all be in high demand. It would also be highly unlikely that Weston McKennie would be retained on loan.

However, survival – and a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League – give Leeds a solid foundation for further spending.

And with the proposed takeover of the club from 49ers Enterprises, Leeds are likely to have more funds at their disposal.

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Leeds want a deal for Manuel Ugarte

Now, according to reports in Portuguese media, Leeds are looking to further strengthen their midfield with a move for Manuel Ugarte.

The Sporting Lisbon star has established himself as one of South America’s top midfielders with some dazzling performances this season.

He was part of a Sporting side that recently defeated Arsenal on penalties to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

And Oh Jogo claims Leeds were among a host of clubs in attendance to see the Uruguayan in action.

They claim Leeds are keen on Ugarte, with the 21-year-old considered ‘the most desirable player’ in their squad.

His performance was also notable as the midfielder saw red in extra time after receiving a second booking for the game.

Still, his performance hasn’t stopped Leeds from considering a summer approach, they report.

However, the whites will face competition from the wolves, who are also keen on his services.

However, any deal will hit Leeds hard in the pocket.

Sporting have made it clear they don’t want to sell Ugarte any time soon, with coach Ruben Amorim and sporting director Hugo Viana giving him high ratings.

As such, they appear to be pointing the clubs to the £52.9m (€60m) release clause included in his deal.

Indeed, with such a trigger, Sporting would have no choice but to let the player discuss a possible move with suitors.

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And that fee would conveniently snuff out Leeds’ transfer record, currently standing at £34million, paid to Hoffenheim for Georginio Rutter in January.

Ugarte is signed at Sporting until the summer of 2026 after receiving a bargain price of €3m from Famalicao in 2021.

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