By Peter Lynch

21st Apr, 2023 | 8:40am

Phil Hay reacts as Leeds United ready bid to sign Manuel Ugarte amid £52.7m development

Phil Hay believes Manuel Ugarte is the “sort of target” that Victor Orta tends to go for, with Leeds United linked with the Sporting CP midfielder.

The Whites will ​​make a bid for the 22-year-old so long as they avoid relegation from the Premier League this season, according to Record (19 April).

As per O Jogo, the Uruguayan international has a release clause in his contract worth £52.7million.

“Yeah, I saw him linked,” Hay said on The Athletic’s The Phil Hay Show (15m27s). “I mean, the summer is very difficult to speak about at the moment and that applies as much as anything to the takeover. 

“So much is going to be dictated by where Leeds finish and if they stay up or if they go down. And then the changes are going to come. I’ve said before that I wouldn’t really anticipate with 49ers Enterprises having a massive clear-out at executive level the moment they arrive. It’s always felt as though there’ll be a transition with people like Angus Kinnear and Victor Orta. 

“Clearly, Andrea Radrizzani will go at the point where the shares are transferred. But you would assume if Orta is still in charge of the transfer planning, as he has been for several years, he would have his hand on that. And that does sound like the sort of target he tends to go for.”

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Time will tell

Any news of links to a talented player is welcome news to Leeds supporters, with the club desperate for something new and exciting after a second-successive season of being threatened with relegation.

But the links will mean nothing at all if the Whites do not secure their safety, with the club having no chance at all of signing talented midfielder Ugarte if they drop down to the Championship.

A player with real tenacity and bite, the youngster already has plenty of experience at club and international level, and could have undoubtedly helped Leeds this season.

The West Yorkshire outfit have really missed the injured Tyler Adams in that defensive midfield role, with Weston McKennie’s future at Elland Road still up in the air.

Orta hasn’t always got recruitment right during his time with the club, but this would represent a serious sign of intent and would definitely get fans excited.

But given Ugarte’s displays in Portugal and in this season’s Champions League and Europa League, Leeds won’t be the only club interested in his services.

In other Leeds United news, Chris Sutton has predicted the result between the Whites and Fulham in their Premier League clash on Saturday (22 April).