Mauricio Pochettino is set to take over at Chelsea as the club's new manager on July 1, but work has already started on transfer targets he wants ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Indeed, according to Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports, the Argentine has already informed Chelsea's hierarchy the first signing he wants to join his side, though they'll face stiff competition from others in Europe, especially when considering Chelsea's bloated squad and requirement to adhere to financial fair play regulations.
"Outgoings are the most important thing for Mauricio Pochettino because if he doesn’t have a manageable squad size, he stands no chance of succeeding," Jacobs told FourFourTwo on June 1. "Everybody at Chelsea is aware of that so there will be several outgoings but Chelsea don’t have to wait for income to come in before they can move in the market, at least with one or two signings early in the window.
"With incomings, Manuel Ugarte is one serious target for Chelsea, PSG are in that race as well and I think both clubs feel like the release clause of €60 million is pretty fair market value. Neither plan on triggering it: both are going to present options that are structured to that valuation but with different payment terms, and it’ll come down to Ugarte.
"Newcastle have looked at Ugarte too but I’m not aware that they’ve moved – player preference is to move to the Premier League and Sporting are resigned to losing him."
Despite the player's preference, though, a move to Chelsea certainly isn't done and dusted. Indeed, with the Blues' financial considerations, PSG are offering a much better deal, as Jacobs explains.
"The package PSG have offered is bigger, it’s healthier: at least one-and-a-half, if not two times bigger than Chelsea have offered.
"I think that’s normal because Chelsea’s offers are factoring in a season without Champions League football and would go up in valuation if Chelsea get back in the Champions League.
"It may well come down to whether Chelsea see value in proceeding and having to pay a little bit more and second of all whether Ugarte prefers a Premier League move or whether the lucrative package that PSG have offered is more beneficial. So he’s one to watch."
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.