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Mikel Arteta faces £160m transfer conundrum after Brighton star chooses Arsenal over Chelsea

moises caicedo and alexis mac allister of brighton

In-demand Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo has reportedly ‘chosen his next club,’ amid interest from Arsenal and Chelsea. 

The Ecuador international came close to leaving the Seagulls in January. But, Roberto de Zerbi refused to sell him at the time.

Now, despite signing a new contract in March, Caicedo is keen to leave Brighton this summer. However, he won’t be a cheap signing.

This season, the 21-year-old has made 37 Premier League appearances. He impressively played a key role as De Zerbi’s team secured a historic sixth-place finish and qualified for European football for the first time in their history.

As a result, Arsenal and Chelsea have both maintained their interest in Caicedo ahead of the summer window.

It’s no secret that Mikel Arteta is desperate to bring in at least one quality centre-mid. Granit Xhaka is expected to sign for former club Bayer Leverkusen imminently, which will leave a void in the Arsenal squad.

Declan Rice is considered to be Arteta’s primary transfer target. But, after seeing a £70m bid rejected for Caicedo in January, they remain interested in the Brighton star.

However, Chelsea have also held a firm interest in Caicedo for several months, so they are expected to make a move for him this summer, too.

READ MORE: Declan Rice urged to reject Man Utd for bitter rivals with blockbuster Ten Hag deal left in tatters

Caicedo chooses Arsenal over Chelsea

According to Ecuadorian outlet TeradeportesCaicedo wants to join Arsenal over Chelsea this summer.

Their post on Twitter reads “el peso de jugar champions”, meaning ‘the weight of playing champions’, suggesting Champions League football has swayed Caicedo towards the Gunners.

But, as mentioned, he won’t come cheap, with Brighton likely to demand offers in excess of £70m for the Ecuadorian.

While Arsenal remain at the front of the pack for Caicedo, if they spend big on Rice, they may find it difficult to buy both players.

Indeed, West Ham have slapped a £120m price tag the England internatioanl. While the Hammers may not get that amount,  Arsenal have already expressed a willingness to pay £90m for him.

So, it seems unlikely the Gunners would spend in excess of £160m on both Caicedo and Rice. As a result, the door could potentially open again for Chelsea to swoop in and sign the Brighton star.

Although, with the Seagulls set to be competing in Europe next season, there is no guarentee Caicedo would agree on a switch to the Blues.

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