Chelsea and Arsenal look set to battle it out for the capture of an all-action Premier League midfielder after the Blues lost out on Manuel Ugarte to Paris Saint-Germain, according to reports.
Chelsea had agreed to match Ugarte’s £52million release clause at Sporting. As recently as Sunday Chelsea were in pole position to land the Uruguayan, ahead of PSG.
However, the Ligue 1 side have turned the transfer race on its head by offering to pay Ugarte’s release clause themselves and also sending him a more lucrative contract than Chelsea.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have refused to return to the negotiating table. As such, French newspaper L’Equipe state that PSG ‘have won the race’ and will soon announce the 22-year-old as their latest capture. He is expected to pen a long-term deal in the French capital.
Chelsea missing out on Ugarte will be a blow for Pochettino. Ugarte has the potential to become one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe, while he is already a regular in the Uruguay national team squads.
But rather than letting the transfer disappointment get him down, Pochettino is already working on an alternative signing.
As per the Evening Standard, he has declared to Chelsea that he wants club chiefs to bring in Moises Caicedo from Brighton instead.
On Monday, the Daily Mail tipped Chelsea to reignite their interest in Caicedo, having tried to land him in January. And the Standard has now backed that rumour up.
Chelsea face Arsenal competition for Brighton swoop
Pochettino and Chelsea want Caicedo to help revamp their midfield amid uncertainty surrounding the futures of current options N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. Mason Mount has also agreed personal terms with Manchester United and the two clubs are in talks over his potential transfer.
Despite Pochettino’s desire to land Caicedo, it will be hard for Chelsea to win the race for him. Arsenal are big admirers of the 21-year-old and on June 1 Football Transfers revealed the Gunners already have an agreement in place over personal terms with him.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is keen to build on his team’s progress this season by creating a devastating midfield involving skipper Martin Odegaard and new signings Caicedo and Declan Rice.
This means Chelsea and Arsenal will go head-to-head over Caicedo.
As happens so often, Brighton will be rubbing their hands together amid all of this. They have set Caicedo’s price tag at £80m but could receive more if a bidding war ensues.
The Seagulls would love to keep Caicedo for a few more years but are fully aware of his desire to test himself at a bigger club.
As such, they will allow him to go if the right offer comes in. Caicedo’s departure will then give them more money to scout the next wave of exciting young teenagers.
Following the likes of Alexis Mac Allister and Caicedo, Brighton already have Evan Ferguson and Facundo Buonanotte ready to step up and make them big money in the next couple of years.
When it comes to Caicedo, Chelsea must put on a big charm offensive to convince him to join them over Arsenal. This is because Arsenal have just had a great season in which they challenged Manchester City for the Premier League title, whereas Chelsea finished way behind the top four and only managed 12th place.
Pochettino will likely play a big role in all of this as he will contact Caicedo to explain his plan for getting Chelsea back to where they belong.