Perfect Liverpool, Chelsea target will move with staggering fee set, but Brighton hatch plan that leaves one suitor helpless

Brighton stars Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister playing against Wolves

Brighton are resigned to losing a midfield ace wanted by Liverpool and Chelsea, and have hatched a plan that ensures only one club can make a move, TEAMtalk understands.

The AMEX has proved a fantastic place for stars to prove their worth of late. The likes of Ben White, Marc Cucurella and Leandro Trossard have all earned big money moves to London’s elite through their exploits on the south coast.

Brighton have reinvested well, with Alexis Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo and Kauro Mitoma leading the next wave. However, one of that trio in particular may be on the move at some stage in 2023.

Ecuador international Caicedo, 21, has been a one-man wrecking ball in Brighton’s midfield this season.

Caicedo is being courted by Liverpool and Chelsea, with the Athletic’s David Ornstein recently reporting the Blues had seen a £55m bid knocked back earlier this month.

Both clubs are seeking midfield reinforcements, with Liverpool’s need arguably the greater.

Liverpool, Chelsea midfields about to change

The Reds’ primary target is Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, though just a single addition won’t suffice. Indeed, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are all out of contract at season’s end.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have contract concerns of their own. Both Jorginho and N’Golo Kante have entered the final six months of their deals. Of the pair, it’s expected Jorginho in particular is destined to leave.

Caicedo would therefore represent a perfect signing for both clubs, and TEAMtalk has now learned Brighton are resigned to losing their newest superstar in 2023.

The threat of losing him in January, rather than the summer, cannot be overlooked, and as such, we understand Brighton have settled on a whopping £80m asking price.

£80m fee bad news for one suitor

They hope that colossal sum will push both Chelsea and Liverpool out of the race for the midfielder this month. Given Liverpool’s restricted budget, it stands to reason the Reds won’t be able to act.

It remains to be seen if Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly will be willing to splash out such a fee having already spent heavily on the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos and David Datro Fofana this month. Joao Felix also arrived on loan from Atletico Madrid for a sizeable loan fee.

However, Chelsea do still have money to spend and we understand a central midfield addition is now their man priority heading into the final week of the window.

Given the £80m price tag all but rules Liverpool out of the race this month, it’s now a case of Chelsea or remaining in situ for Caicedo.

If the Blues do decide to push the boat out one more time, Liverpool will miss out on an ideal target six months before they could ever fully explore a deal.

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