AC Milan are looking at options to boost the quality of the midfield department ahead of next summer and they have cast their eyes towards Portugal, a report claims.
Calciomercato.com and 90min are both reporting that Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara are admirers of Manuel Ugarte, a 21-year-old holding midfielder who has impressed for Sporting CP and who could fill the void that was not really filled when Franck Kessie left last summer.
Stefano Pioli has used Sandro Tonali and Ismael Bennacer in the double pivot but the lack of a real alternative has been noticeable given Aster Vranckx and Tommaso Pobega have barely been used while Rade Krunic remains a utility man.
Ugarte played in the youth system at Fenix - a team from Montevideo in Uruguay – before moving to Portugal in December 2020 and signing a contract until 2025 with Famalicao in a deal worth €4m. The next year he went to Sporting for €7m and signed a deal until 2026.
He already has six appearances for Uruguay after coming through with the U20 and U23 national team and he is a physical presence that is good on the ball. He prefers being deployed at the base of a three-man midfield but can also play in a tandem.