Liverpool emerge as dark horse to sign £70m man as Arsenal turn to London-based midfielder whose price is on the slide
Ben Jacobs has told TEAMtalk that Moises Caicedo will be targeted by a trio of Premier League clubs in the summer, although Arsenal could now be out of that mix as Mikel Arteta turns his attention to raiding a fellow London club instead.
Brighton star Caicedo was the subject of significant interest in the January window, as first Chelsea and then Arsenal both looked into striking a deal for the young midfielder. Indeed, the Gunners even saw bids of £60million and £70m knocked back.
Arteta eventually settled on bringing veteran Italian Jorginho to The Emirates, although that’s not viewed as a long-term signing and the Gunners are expected to be back in the mix for a younger, more dynamic option in the summer.
However, that might not be Caicedo, as TT transfer insider Jacobs explains why Arteta wants Declan Rice as his headline summer signing, who could be cheaper than West Ham’s initial asking price.
And while the Brighton man might not be Gunners bound, that opens the door for Liverpool to begin a complete overhaul of their engine room by snapping up Caicedo – but only if the deal is right for them.
We’ve been told that both Arsenal and Chelsea never really stood a chance of signing Caicedo in January, given Brighton’s unflappable stance in the face of significant interest.
Jacobs said: “To some extent Arsenal and Chelsea, despite the fact that they would have done their due diligence on numbers and they will have had their own valuations internally, they were kind of bidding in the dark. And that definitely also made a January move relatively difficult.
“Flashing forward to the summer, it’s very likely that Moises Caicedo will be available on the market and that Brighton will at least engage in offers, which they didn’t do to any degree in January.
Summer midfield market littered with top options
“And I think that what’s going to be interesting about the summer is that there will be a whole host of midfielders available. So there’s no guarantee that the type of valuations being discussed and even bid are going to be what Caicedo eventually goes for in the summer.
“Clubs will realise that other targets that were not available in January are going to be available in the summer and, as a consequence, due to the volume of midfielders that different suitors will be going for, Caicedo’s value could drop. And the same kind of suitors that enquired about him in January might not all return.
“That’s what makes it so interesting that Caicedo in January was seemingly gettable in the early part of the window, only to find that Brighton didn’t want to sell and were going to stick resiliently, aggressively and robustly to their stance.
“Now you move to the summer and you start to include Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Youri Tielemans, who’s available on a free. So there’s a whole range of midfielders, and Scott McTominay is another one we should mention as well.
“And because of that, the sliding scale of midfielders from elite level and expensive all the way down to free transfers, it means that teams that prioritised Caicedo in January might not do the same thing in the summer.
Arteta wants Rice as West Ham price drops
“So with Arsenal, their No.1 midfield target remains Declan Rice in the summer, and they will compete with Chelsea and possibly Manchester United as well.
“But sources have always told me that Rice’s priority is to stay in London if he possibly can and that would lend itself towards an Arsenal or Chelsea move. And with Declan Rice, the price has dropped significantly compared to what West Ham were quoting last summer in order to try and ward off suitors.
“So, the teams that were asked about Rice were told a fee was well in excess of £100m, which is essentially saying he is not for sale because nobody was going to pay that last summer.
“This summer, Rice could be available for as low as £70-75m, which Arsenal and Chelsea will see as great value. So Rice is one to watch for Arsenal and also Chelsea as well. They will be the two that are pushing for him.
“Back to Caicedo, we can’t rule out Arsenal as well but it remains to be seen if they’ll pay the same kind of fee that they were offering in January. Caicedo’s price could actually drop a little bit rather than go up.
Liverpool could add Caicedo in dramatic midfield revamp
“Chelsea could also be back, as they’ll want more than one midfielder and Caicedo has worked with Graham Potter before. Liverpool might be ones to watch as well, as they’ve had a historical interest in Caicedo since from before he moved to Brighton.
“However, they never bid in January, contrary to what reports said. The reason for that is two-fold, one because they didn’t see value at the kind of figures being quoted and two, because the agent situation was complicated and those are not the type of deals that Liverpool normally do. But if we get to the summer and the deal becomes simpler and falls within Liverpool’s valuation then they could go for Caicedo too.
“Liverpool need a new engine room too, so those are the three clubs to watch. But we have to now determine what the actual price is going to be in all likelihood for Caicedo. And that will depend on the volume of suitors but also other available midfielders that are available in the market.”
This summer could well end up with significant moves for a number of top Premier League clubs, and it appears that high-quality midfielders will be in big demand.
But with so many knocking around, expect Arsenal, Liverpool and act swiftly in the summer to make sure they land their top targets.
We’ll be chatting to Ben every week with a behind-the-scenes look at the Premier League and getting the inside track to bring straight to you, our loyal army of TEAMtalk readers.