Liverpool must act fast for their third midfield signing or run the risk of seeing an already agreed move hijacked by Chelsea following a brutal Moises Caicedo rejection.
The Blues have chased Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo dating back to the January window. Bids worth £60m, £65m and £70m have all been knocked back. However, Chelsea are nothing if not persistent.
Indeed, according to both Fabrizio Romano and David Ornstein, Chelsea recently thundered in with a fourth bid worth a whopping £80m.
The proposal comprised £75m plus a further £5m in add-ons. However, despite it’s size, Brighton instantly rejected the offer via email.
A prior report from the Telegraph claimed Brighton would hold out for upwards of £100m before selling their Ecuadorian ace. Explaining why, they claimed Brighton are pointing towards Declan Rice moving to Arsenal for £105m.
Now, according to European football expert Kevin Hatchard, a Chelsea move of their own may also be being used as a benchmark by the Seagulls.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Transfer Show, Hatchard stated: “The Enzo Fernandez situation is interesting here.
“If you’re Brighton, you look at what Chelsea did with Enzo and say, ‘Hang on, you paid a fortune (£106.8m) for him and he hadn’t had an established track record in European football’.
“Yes, he was a very good, exceptional player and played very well in the Champions League for Benfica but it was a pretty small sample size.
“So they’ll probably say, ‘If you were prepared to pay that, you should pay it for Moises Caicedo’.”
Personal terms between Caicedo and Chelsea won’t be a problem and the player wants the move. However, Ornstein confirmed a deal is “likely to take £100m-plus”.
Chelsea circling over Liverpool move
In the event Chelsea deem the deal unworkable from a financial perspective, they do have a top class alternative in mind.
Southampton ace and confirmed Liverpool target, Romeo Lavia, is the player in question.
News from Belgium has revealed Liverpool already have an agreement on personal terms in place with Lavia.
The Reds saw an opening bid worth £37m knocked back. Southampton hope to generate £50m for the 19-year-old, while Romano reported an improved offer totalling £45m will soon be made.
However, the transfer guru also stressed Chelsea are hovering when declaring they’re “keeping [a] close eye” on Lavia’s situation.
That update came prior to their £80m bid for Caicedo being rejected. If the Blues come to the realisation Caicedo cannot be signed, it’ll be full steam ahead for Lavia while he’s still on the market.
As such, the onus is now on Liverpool to make an offer Southampton cannot refuse before the Chelsea threat heightens.