May 19, 2024

Leeds United has been linked with a move for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Manuel Ugarte – and that could have an impact on Weston McKennie’s future.

McKennie, 24, could join permanently for £ 30 million in the summer if certain criteria are met (Sky Sports, 30 January).

The Portuguese news outlet, O Jogo, claims (28 March, page 10) Leeds is readying a possible move for 21-year-old Ugarte. It is understood that Uruguay international has a release clause worth £ 52.7 million.

Surely news of Victor Orta and the board lining up another midfielder is bad news for McKennie. If Leeds were eager to land the American international permanently, then they wouldn’t be looking into another big-money midfield addition.

Furthermore, in recent weeks, it’s been suggested (Ilbianconero, 21 March) that a “gentlemen’s agreement” is in place with Juventus, which could well mean there is no obligation to make the 24-year-old’s deal permanent.

From the board’s perspective, they should be looking to make his move permanent. McKennie has had a handful of games in England’s top flight and is still adjusting to his surroundings. Given time, there’s no doubt he will go on to be a success for Javi Gracia’s side.

The Elland Road hierarchy would be better off spending a lesser fee on a player already on their books, as opposed to thrashing out £20m-plus extra to complete a move for Ugarte.

McKennie’s future is certainly one to keep an eye on heading into the end off-season with the Whites’ league status set to play a big part in any prospective transfer.

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