Chelsea are preparing to make an opening offer to Brighton and Hove Albion to sign Moises Caicedo, 90min understands.
The Ecuadorian midfielder has emerged as Chelsea’s top midfield target this summer, and talks have already taken place with the player’s camp. Personal terms are not seen as an issue from either side, with the player hopeful of the move, but Chelsea are yet to engage fully with Brighton over terms of a potential deal.
Caicedo, who signed a new long-term contract in March after seeing a January move to Arsenal fail to materialise, has made it clear to Brighton that he would like the chance to move on before the new season begins.
The club are open to the prospect of allowing Caicedo to leave – but are determined to achieve what they feel is a fair price for the 21-year-old. Brighton have seen Premier League rivals West Ham agree a British record £105m fee with Arsenal for Declan Rice, and sources indicate the club feel Caicedo’s fee should be in the same “ball park”.
They are currently holding out for £100m and have indicated to the player’s camp that they will only sell for a price they deem fair market value.
Chelsea, for their part, have done their homework on Caicedo and feel he will be the perfect addition to their midfield – and especially crucial given they have lost the experienced Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante from their midfield so far this summer.
Caicedo is desired by Chelsea to be a part of their midfield overhaul and 90min understands that even if this deal is finalised, that the Blues could look for more additions in the middle of the pitch. Southampton’s Romeo Lavia remains under consideration.
The Southampton midfielder is set to be at the centre of a Premier League tug-of-war however, with Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle all showing interest in the player themselves to varying degrees.
One new midfielder who has arrived at Chelsea is Andrey Santos. Santos signed in January from Vasco Da Gama, but at that time didn’t qualify for a work permit to play in England. The 19-year-old returned to his former club on loan as a result, and has since become a full Brazilian international – he is now eligible to play in the Premier League and has started pre-season training with the Blues.
90min understands that a host of clubs have contacted Chelsea to ask about taking the young international midfielder on loan for the coming season.
Portuguese giants Porto have enquired, as have domestic rivals Sporting CP. Both Milan clubs have also expressed an interest in Santos’ situation, while there are clubs interested from Germany and France.
However, Chelsea sources have told 90min that as it stands new head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants to asses Santos over pre-season. Chelsea have been hugely impressed with Santos’ progress in the last six months and feel he could yet feature and contribute in the Premier League.