Arsenal in Moises Caicedo transfer boost with Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi ready to sell wantaway star | The Sun
ROBERTO DE ZERBI says Brighton are ready to move forward without Moises Caicedo, giving Arsenal fresh hope of landing the whizkid ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
The Gunners had a £60million opening offer knocked back on Friday for the 21-year-old with Albion owner Tony Bloom not wanting to sell.
Caicedo put in a transfer request to force the switch and missed Sunday’s 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool, having been told to stay at home until after the window closes.
But his manager’s comments following that fourth-round victory hinted a deal could still be done, with the Gunners ready to bid again.
And while De Zerbi does not want the midfielder to leave, the Albion boss will want reinforcements if he does, having sold Leandro Trossard to Arsenal earlier this month.
De Zerbi said: “Caicedo is a very, very good guy.
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“I can understand him because when you are 21, and you receive the request of a big, big team that are playing in Europe, I can understand.
“I would like that he can finish the season with us but we are ready to go forward without him.
“I think we need some players in some positions.
“I spoke a lot of time with Tony (Bloom) he knows very well my opinion because we are a good team but we can improve also from the transfer market.
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“We lost Trossard, if we lose also Caicedo it can be a problem for us. If we want to fight for Europe, or the maximum on the table.
“If we want to stay like this (at our current level), we can. But I don’t like.”
Caicedo posted an open letter to the club on Instagram late on Friday night pleading for them to grant his move.
The Ecuadorian wrote: “I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest and help the club continue to be successful.
“The fans will always be in my heart so I hope they understand why I want to take this magnificent opportunity.”
His comments were put to De Zerbi who intimated that he felt the player’s actions had been influenced by his representatives.
The Italian said: “I was surprised (by Caicedo’s social media post.
“But I can understand where it started. I don’t know if you understand, but Moises is a good guy.”
Albion owner Bloom has a history of being a tough negotiator, having exacted fees of £50m from Arsenal for Ben White and £62m from Chelsea for Marc Cucurella.
De Zerbi feels if Caicedo stays, and Brighton add to the squad ahead of tomorrow’s deadline, then Europe is a possibility for his sixth-placed side.
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The ex-Shakhtar Donetsk chief added: “I think if we don’t lose Caicedo, we are ready to fight.
“I’m not angry (scared) to say my team can fight for Europe. The most important is the way, the improvement. In transfer market window, always you have the possibility to improve.”
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