Chelsea’s pursuit of Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton has hit a roadblock as the clubs struggle to agree on a transfer fee.
Brighton has already rejected multiple bids from Chelsea, including their latest offer of £80 million.
However, an unnamed club, possibly from Saudi Arabia, has now made a bid in excess of £80 million for Caicedo, and Brighton is keeping the identity of the bidder confidential for the time being.
Brighton values Caicedo at around £100 million and is determined not to sell him on the cheap, especially after witnessing Declan Rice’s £105 million move to Arsenal last month.
The 21-year-old midfielder had an impressive season, featuring in 37 Premier League games and representing Ecuador in the World Cup in Qatar, where he scored against Senegal.
Despite the interest from other clubs, Brighton’s captain Lewis Dunk has urged Caicedo to stay and continue being a key part of the team.
Meanwhile, Chelsea might explore other options, such as Southampton’s 19-year-old midfielder Romeo Lavia, who is valued at £50 million.
Liverpool has already seen two bids for Lavia rejected, and Southampton is adamant not to let him go on the cheap, as they paid Manchester City £10.5 million for his services a year ago and still owe City 20% of any future sale.
Chelsea’s willingness to pay a high transfer fee was evident in the previous window when they paid £106 million for Enzo Fernandez after negotiating for a lower fee.
It remains to be seen whether they will be willing to meet Brighton’s asking price for Caicedo or explore other midfield options.
Brighton is keen on keeping Caicedo in their squad, especially as they gear up for a Europa League campaign after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season.
Captain Lewis Dunk believes that Caicedo’s presence in the team makes them stronger, and he hopes the young midfielder will stay with the club for at least another year.
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