Aston Villa may have taken an interest in Sporting Club de Portugal midfielder Manuel Ugarte after scouting the midfielder against Arsenal earlier this month.

That’s according to O Jogo, who say the Villans ‘noted’ the player’s performance against the Gunners in their Europa League clash at the Emirates.

The newspaper explains that Aston Villa were one of several Premier League sides at the game to scout potential talent.

They were likely there to watch Pedro Gonçalves, who they have been linked to for several weeks ahead of a potential busy summer rebuild under Unai Emery.

However, it was Ugarte’s performance that was ‘noted’, with the midfielder impressing despite picking up two yellows and being sent off in the game.

At the moment none of the interested parties have made a concrete move but if they do, Aston Villa will have to pay a big price to get the Uruguayan.

Sporting are currently resistant to an exit and would want the player’s €60m release clause met, but they are hoping to increase that to €80m with a new contract.

They are also planning to increase their percentage on the player, with them currently owning 70% of his rights but that figure set to rise to 80% after he plays another 15 games for the club.

That can be reached before the end of this season if they reach the Europa League final. If not it would require them holding out until the end of August or featuring in Champions League qualifying so he can get the games under his belt.

Thus, Aston Villa may be wise to move now before they have to pay more, although they would have to fork out €60m as it is to get this deal over the line.