Roberto De Zerbi insists Moises Caicedo ‘is focused only on Brighton’ despite the midfielder considering handing in a transfer request to force through £60m move to Arsenal or Chelsea
- Sportsmail revealed that Caicedo wants to push through move from Brighton
- Arsenal have seen a £60m bid for the midfielder turned down – but may return
- Chelsea are also linked with the Ecuador international as they look for players
Roberto De Zerbi has insisted Moises Caicedo ‘is focused only on Brighton’ despite the midfielder’s efforts to force through a move to Arsenal.
Sportsmail revealed on Friday that Caicedo is considering submitting a transfer request to secure his dream move to the Premier League leaders.
It came after Arsenal made a £60million offer for the 21-year-old – a big Brighton will not accept. The Gunners are set to return with an improved offer of up to £80m.
Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi has insisted Moises Caicedo ‘is focused only on Brighton’ despite transfer interest from Arsenal and Chelsea
Sportsmail understands Caicedo is desperate for a move and could submit a transfer request
But Seagulls boss De Zerbi said: ‘He is a good guy. He is focused only on Brighton.
‘I hope he can stay with us until the end of the season because, in my opinion, it is the best solution for him and for us. I spoke with him on Wednesday and I told him my opinion.
‘It is always difficult to change [clubs] inside the season. You can find some problems.
‘For our way, it is important for him to stay another four months with us. He is relaxed. I spoke with him on Wednesday and I spoke with him like a father, not like a coach.’
The Gunners are set to return with an improved offer for the 21-year-old midfielder (right)
Brighton host Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday but it remains to be seen whether Ecuador international Caicedo is in the right frame of mind to participate.
Despite De Zerbi wanting Caicedo to stay until the summer, the player is concerned he will miss out on a switch to Arsenal or Chelsea if he waits, given they are actively looking for midfielders now.
Chelsea also have a concrete interest in the midfielder and news of Arsenal’s offer may see the Stamford Bridge side accelerate a move.
The Blues stole Mykhailo Mudryk from under Arsenal’s noses earlier this month – it remains to be seen whether Chelsea hijack another of Arsenal’s attempted transfers.
Brighton have already sold Leandro Trossard to Arsenal this month but that came after the Belgian fell out with De Zerbi.
The Gunners want to strengthen their options in midfield after an injury to Mohamed Elneny
Arsenal are keen to sign a new midfielder to ensure their title push isn’t derailed, with the Gunners lacking strength in depth in that position.
Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey have been exceptional this season, but Albert Sambi Lokonga has flattered to deceive – while Mohamed Elneny is set to be absent for a while after suffering a knee injury in training.
Declan Rice is emerging as one of their top summer targets, with the 24-year-old widely-expected to leave West Ham at the end of the season – but Arsenal are keen to strengthen now.
The Gunners have significant funds available in the transfer market, as demonstrated by their failed pursuit of Mykhailo Mudryk – who moved to Chelsea.
When speaking earlier this week, Caicedo had insisted he was only concentrating on playing for De Zerbi’s side and continuing their impressive season which sees them in sixth place.
Leandro Trossard has already moved from Brighton to Arsenal during the January window
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