Liverpool should not even bother trying to sign Moises Caicedo in January because Brighton will simply not sell, one pundit believes.
The Reds have had strong links with bolstering their midfield with a marquee signing in the next two transfer windows. There were suggestions a deal could come this summer, but only Arthur Melo arrived on loan.
And while it remains unclear if Liverpool will activate their option to buy for the Brazilian, they are supposedly looking elsewhere.
Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude Bellingham has been the most-talked-about target in recent months. However, Liverpool reportedly eyed a £42million bid for Caicedo this summer.
The Ecuador international was an unknown quantity when he arrived at Brighton, but he has grown to become a vital midfielder there – and a standout Premier League star.
According to Paul Robinson, though, Liverpool should not go near Caicedo. The pundit added that Brighton have a recent history of demanding “astronomical” prices for their top stars.
“No chance,” Robinson told Football Insider when asked if Caicedo could go to Liverpool in January. “That is not a January deal.
“Brighton are not in a situation where they need to sell players. We saw that with [Marc] Cucurella. They demanded an astronomical price.
“They will want to give the manager time to assess his squad and his players and do what he wants in January.
“The World Cup is only two months away. [Roberto] De Zerbi does not have much time to assess his squad. I cannot see there being any major outgoings.
“They might bring in players that the manager wants but I cannot see a player like Caicedo leaving.”
De Zerbi will count on Caicedo
Brighton’s new boss De Zerbi has yet to get stuck in with his new role after arriving at the start of the international break.
He has big shoes to fill following Graham Potter’s impressive spell in charge. However, Brighton chairman Tony Bloom revealed that he is constantly scouting Europe for the next hot manager prospects.
And Brighton will hope they can continue to have more player recruitment successes like Caicedo.
The 20-year-old already has 24 caps for Ecuador and could be one of the rising stars at the World Cup.
Liverpool reportedly continue to keep tabs on the midfielder and could battle Chelsea for his signature in the coming months.
But, he has also had links with Manchester United. Indeed, Caicedo’s fellow countryman Antonio Valencia has urged his old club to move for Caicedo.
For now, though, De Zerbi will have to hit the ground running at Brighton because it is only a matter of weeks before he will split up with his players again for the World Cup.
And intriguingly, his first test is against Liverpool at Anfield. De Zerbi will have a chance to show the Premier League what he is made of – and that Potter’s legacy can be carried on.
Caicedo, meanwhile, has already starred in Brighton beating Man Utd on their own patch this season and will want to do the same against Liverpool to raise his stock even further.