Moises Caicedo: Failed Arsenal bid prompts transfer request from Brighton midfielder as Chelsea prepare late approach

Moises Caicedo playing for Brighton.

Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo is ready to hand in a transfer request after the club rejected bids from Arsenal and Chelsea, TEAMtalk understands.

Caicedo’s future at Brighton has been the subject of intense speculation during the January transfer window with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all chasing his signature.

Arsenal saw a £60million bid for the Ecuador international rejected on Friday, while Chelsea had an offer of £55million turned down by Brighton earlier this month.

Brighton insist Caicedo is not for sale in this transfer window, but Arsenal and Chelsea are both expected to come back with new offers before next Tuesday’s deadline.

Caicedo, who has two-and-a-half years left on his contract, is understood to be keen to make a move to either Chelsea or Arsenal if they can agree a deal with Brighton.

Caicedo previously played for Chelsea head coach Graham Potter at Brighton. The Blues have been looking for a long-term solution in midfield due to doubts about the futures of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.

Chelsea have spent heavily this month, just like they did in the summer transfer window. For example, they beat Arsenal to a deal for Mykhaylo Mudryk, but now the two London rivals are going head to head again over another target.

Arsenal have already signed Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior in January, from Brighton and Spezia respectively. In doing so, they have strengthened their table-topping squad. But the issue of bringing in another central midfielder has also been on their minds.

Their offer for Caicedo was of guaranteed cash, without the inclusion of any add-ons. However, after already losing Trossard to the Gunners this month, the Seagulls stood firm and rejected the bid.

Several sources have reiterated that Brighton do not intend to let go of Caicedo this month. After all, they are in a good financial position after selling Trossard.

However, the Ecuador international – who recently changed his agents – could be about to take matters into his own hands.

According to Fabrizio Romano – who originally revealed Arsenal’s bid had been made – Caicedo still wants the move. In fact, he has reportedly told Brighton that he would “love to take the opportunity” of following Trossard to the Emirates Stadium.

And TEAMtalk understands that Caicedo has upped the pressure on his current club by preparing a transfer request.

Arsenal, Chelsea could try again for Moises Caicedo

If Arsenal is to be his destination, Caicedo could become a long-term successor to the likes of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, who have been Mikel Arteta’s main starters in defensive midfield this season.

While they have proven to be a reliable partnership, Xhaka is 30 and Partey is 29. Most of the other areas of Arsenal’s lineup are more youthful.

Hence, it could be important for the club to invest with an eye to the future.

Similarly, Chelsea pair Kante and Jorginho are both 31 years old. Each has a contract that is due to expire at the end of the season. Thus, Chelsea have an obvious reason to reinvest if they can.

In Caicedo’s case, either suitor could be taking a player with a good blend of potential and existing Premier League experience.

Since signing for Brighton, Caicedo has represented them in 31 games, scoring twice. At the age of 21, he is someone who could go on to achieve big things.

While Brighton are having a good season, sitting sixth in the table (four places above Chelsea) after 19 matches, Arsenal are a bigger club to start with and are top of the Premier League table as things stand. Therefore, they have an attractive project to sign up for at the moment.

As part of their midfield evolution, they are also taking a look at West Ham captain Declan Rice (another player to have been linked with Chelsea too). According to Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth, Arsenal “remain interested” in a summer deal for Rice, irrespective of if and when they can sign Caicedo.

In years to come, then, their ideal midfield partnership may consist of Rice and Caicedo. It is their pursuit of the latter that is the most pressing, though.

Now, it remains to be seen how Brighton will respond to the pressure Caicedo is putting on them for a sale.

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