Exclusive: The PSG player who could make way for Bruno Guimaraes transfer, according to French football expert

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French football expert Jonathan Johnson admits we could see Manuel Ugarte make a quick transfer away from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, perhaps on loan, amid links with the likes of Newcastle United star Bruno Guimaraes.

Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his Daily Briefing column, Johnson explained that although Ugarte started well for PSG, he has been unable to keep that form going as the season’s gone on, and he perhaps doesn’t look the best fit for Luis Enrique’s side.

Johnson feels that Enrique will probably look to play more technically gifted players in midfield next season, so that would explain the links with someone like Guimaraes at Newcastle, who would surely be a significant upgrade on Ugarte.

Although it’s not yet clear what will happen with the 23-year-old Uruguay international, Johnson could perhaps see him being given the chance to go out on loan for a season, perhaps to Serie A, with PSG then looking at him again afterwards.

Ugarte transfer: Will PSG get rid already?

Alternatively, Johnson pointed to Vitinha’s improvement at PSG and could see the club perhaps being patient with Ugarte and giving him the chance to see if he can do the same in his second season in the French capital.

Manuel Ugarte in action for PSG

“There’s been speculation about Manuel Ugarte possibly leaving PSG already, but he started the season well and looked like one of the signings of the summer. It’s been an interesting situation because as the season’s gone on he’s just completely fallen off quite alarmingly,” Johnson said.

“I think Ugarte really became a victim of Luis Enrique and PSG experimenting with a lot of different options and finally settling upon a balanced midfield three which didn’t really need the kind of profile that Ugarte brings.

“Still, when I look at the PSG midfield as it is now, and at Ugarte’s first season difficulties, I recall that it’s been quite similar for him as it was with Vitinha, who also struggled to get going in his first season in Paris. He started really well before tailing off, and he needed the reset that came with Enrique in order to thrive, which he’s now doing, so it’s possible that Ugarte now requires the same.

“I think the main difficulty from Enrique’s point of view is the technical aspect of things, with Ugarte not quite at the technical level that Enrique would ideally like to have in that midfield alongside Warren Zaire-Emery and Vitinha. I think he really needs all those players to have really high technical ability, which is why Fabian Ruiz has found favour in recent weeks, although he’s not necessarily considered a long-term key piece.

“There is a possibility that PSG will look at Ugarte’s situation this summer and decide to opt for him to move on or to at least loan him out, but I think there’ll also be a large element of Enrique having a decision to make on whether he can advance with Ugarte and perhaps he will reach a higher level in his second season now that he’s more comfortable in his surroundings and with his teammates.

“Still, it doesn’t change the fact that Enrique doesn’t tend to utilise players of that profile very often, and that’s why the links with Bruno Guimaraes make so much sense, and there are links with Youssouf Fofana at Monaco now as well. It is a possibility that Ugarte could loan go out on loan, perhaps to Serie A or elsewhere, but things certainly haven’t worked out quite how people thought they would, so it’s a big summer for him.”

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