Manchester United have reportedly turned their attention towards signing Moises Caicedo after their failure to reach agreements for top targets Mason Mount and Adrien Rabiot.
The Red Devils look to have been completely priced out of their chase for the wantaway Blues star, who only has a year remaining on his current Stamford Bridge contract.
The Daily Mirror reports that the Stamford Bridge outfit are refusing to budge on their £65million valuation of the England man, with United now said to be willing to walk away after seeing another offer of £55m completely knocked back.
And now a report in The Times claims that Erik ten Hag is ready to make Brighton star Caicedo his top target instead, despite the fact that the Seagulls want £15m more for the Ecuador than United are willing to stump up for Mount.
Caicedo has been a major target for Chelsea for some time after Arsenal failed with a move of their own for the midfielder back in January.
He is being considered as Mount’s replacement, despite the Blues star being more of an offensive player than the more box-to-box 21-year-old.
Caicedo is expected to quit The Amex this summer, despite penning a new deal after the collapse of his move to north London.
And while the Gunners remain keen on a deal, their main focus continues to be on beating Manchester City to Declan Rice.
Liverpool are also outsiders to land the Brighton man, although it’s rumoured he favours remaining in the south and setting up base in the capital instead.
United ready to blow up Caicedo deal
But for Chelsea to sign Caicedo it’s thought they must first offload Mount for FFP purposes, although United could be about to blow that whole transfer up by trying to lure the Seagulls star over the latter instead.
The Blues are in desperate need of new midfield recruits after the exits of N’Golo Kante and Matteo Kovacic, while several more top Stamford Bridge stars are expected to move on this summer in a major shake-up under new boss Mauricio Pochettino.
As for United, Ten Hag knows he needs to try and create a more youthful engine room at Old Trafford, given that both Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are the wrong side of 30.
The Dutchman also wanted to get Juventus star Rabiot on board but the 28-year-old is expected to sign a contract extension with the Bianconeri, as stated by Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
But it appears they could now be ready to throw all their eggs in the Caicedo basket, scuppering Chelsea’s pursuit as a result and sending the Blues a clear message over the way they have dealt with the ongoing Mount saga.