Brighton appear to have fallen at the last hurdle in the race to sign Nicolas Gonzalez, according to reports in Germany.
Reports from The Guardian on Wednesday suggested that Brighton had agreed a club-record fee with Stuttgart to sign the forward. The transfer would have cost around £25m up front, plus bonuses. But they were warned that Fiorentina had also seen a bid accepted – and it now seems Gonzalez has chosen the Italian club.
It was previously reported that the 23-year-old, who was also linked with Tottenham and Leeds, would prefer a move to the Premier League. But upon reflection, it seems he has changed his stance to choose Fiorentina instead.
According to Sky in Germany, Gonzalez is “close” to joining the Serie A side. Fiorentina will pay the equivalent of £19.7m up front and could see their investment rise to £23m with add-ons.
That is lower than the reported fee Brighton would have paid. However, it seems the player’s choice has been decisive.
The Argentina international is expected to sign a five-year contract in Florence. There is currently no manager in place there after Gennaro Gattuso ripped up his agreement to take over next season, but Fiorentina are still conducting their transfer business for the summer.
Gattuso, meanwhile, seems to be close to an instant return to management. He is in advanced talks with one of the clubs who wanted Gonzalez before, Tottenham.
Brighton ready for busy summer
After seemingly missing out on Gonzalez, Brighton could be set for more transfer disappointment this summer. Several of their key players are in demand.
For example, Ben White impressed in his first season as a Premier League player. The defender carried on the form he built on loan at Leeds, whom he helped win promotion from the Championship the previous year.
A member of England’s Euro 2020 squad, White can now aim higher at club level. And Arsenal are seemingly intent on capturing him.
They have reportedly made a bid, which Brighton have turned down. But the centre-back seems confident the move will go through in the end.