Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has explained why Moises Caicedo missed their friendly against Rayo Vallecano amid links with a move to Chelsea.
Caicedo has been the main target for Chelsea as part of their midfield rebuild under Mauricio Pochettino this summer, but Brighton have proven to be a tough negotiator. While Chelsea eventually got their men from the Amex when it came to Marc Cucurella, Graham Potter and recently Robert Sanchez, the Seagulls seem very intent on keeping Caicedo, who has also been subject to interest from other clubs over the past year.
According to the latest reports, Chelsea are preparing another bid for the Ecuadorian, having seen an £80m offer turned down with Brighton holding out for their £100m valuation. There was also reportedly an £80m bid from an unnamed club that Brighton aren’t allowing to be leaked, while Chelsea are lining up replacements just in case they fail to sign Caicedo.
The latest twist in this summer-long transfer saga came when Caicedo was not involved in Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, their final pre-season friendly before opening the new Premier League campaign against Luton next weekend.
Some Chelsea fans were hoping it was due to the player pushing for a move away, or being absent so negotiations could continue but they were quickly quashed. Speaking after the game, Brighton’s chief executive Paul Barber confirmed that Caicedo suffered an injury in training.
To make matters worse for Chelsea fans, Barber then drove in the dagger that Brighton are planning for the new season with him, reiterating that he is indeed a Seagulls player.
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“Moises had a slight hamstring injury late in training and was pulled out for that reason,” Barber told reporters.
“With a Premier League season just a week away it makes no sense to risk him today.
“We’re looking forward to Moises starting the season with us, he’s a Brighton player under a long-term contract.
“He’s probably one of the most exciting young midfield players in the world at the moment and we’re delighted to have him.”
But even if Brighton were to sell Caicedo, Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi is confident the club will replace him as they have done with others in the past.
After selling Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool earlier in the summer, Brighton look set to secure the signing of Mohammed Kudus from Ajax, with an agreement in principle reportedly reached. Kudus has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs including Chelsea, as well as Arsenal and Manchester United.
They have also already added James Milner and Mahmoud Dahoud to their midfield, with Igor Julio brought into the defence as part of a replacement for Levi Colwill who returned to Chelsea after his loan spell.
We’ve found 9 replacements for Moisés Caicedo…
— Squawka (@Squawka) June 20, 2023
“If Moises leaves, we will find another important player. And if Moises stays, I will be happy for us, for the team, for the club,” De Zerbi added.
“But it’s not my problem now, if Moises leaves, we will bring another player in. We are Brighton, and under our policy there is the possibility to lose some players at the end of the season.
“It was the same for Mac Allister and Colwill.”