Mauricio Pochettino priority at Chelsea this summer will be strengthening his midfield, and he appears to have settled on Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and Sporting CP’s Manuel Ugarte as top targets in a double swoop that could cost as much as £132 million.
The Argentine arrives at the club officially on July 1, where he will adopt seven outright midfield players. Of those seven, Conor Gallagher, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacicand Ruben Loftus-Chee have been the focus of intense speculation about moves elsewhere, N’Golo Kante falls into the over-30s bracket, and Carney Chukwuemeka is still only a teenager.
This leaves only Enzo Fernandez unaccounted for, so it would be wise for Pochettino to consider fresh legs first and foremost in this area of the squad.
The first of two new faces the Blues boss plans to introduce is Moises Caicedo. The club’s interest dates back to the January transfer window, when Arsenal ramped up their efforts to sign the Ecuadorian before a move was blocked, though Brighton could allow him to leave this time around.
Caicedo has proven himself as one of the best in his position in this country over the last 12 months, displaying pace, power, precision, and even the versatility to switch positions when required.
Notoriously difficult negotiators Brighton, who themselves offered up £30 million for Levi Colwill on a permanent deal a few days ago, will be hoping they can hold out for at least £80 million for the 21-year-old. He could be the second key midfielder to depart the south coast this summer, with Alexis Mac Allister tipped to move to Liverpool.
Also in Pochettino’s plan is Ugarte, who has caught the eye in both Primeira Liga, Champions League and Europa Leaguefixtures in the recent campaign.
His contract contains a £52 million release clause, and Chelsea will be forced to rival Paris Saint-Germain for his services, with Liverpool again loosely linked with interest in the midfielder.
If Chelsea were to acquire both players, it would more than soften the blow of any potential outgoings this summer.