Brighton plan for Caicedo stay amid Chelsea interest

Moises Caicedo of Brighton & Hove Albion in action during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City
Caicedo made his Premier League debut in April 2022 and has played 53 times for Brighton, scoring twice

Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi says he is planning to have midfielder Moises Caicedo in his squad for next season amid transfer interest from Chelsea.

The 21-year-old has been the subject of interest from a number of clubs, with Arsenal also trying to sign the Ecuadorian in January.

“At the moment Moises is a Brighton player,” De Zerbi said.

Speaking in the United States, where his team is participating in the Premier League Summer Series alongside five other English sides including Chelsea, De Zerbi added: “I spoke with [club owner] Tony Bloom and he told me if the conditions don’t change, Moises stays with us.

“For me it should be great news because it is difficult to find another player like Moises. If Moises leaves we have to find another player of the same level because we deserve to play the next season with the same [quality].

“We deserve to play in the Europa League and we want to compete at our best.”

Brighton qualified for European competition after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season.

It has been reported that after Caicedo extended his contract in February, De Zerbi and the player verbally agreed he could leave the Seagulls in the summer window.

“It is not true. I am coach, not owner, I’m not a sporting director. I’m only a coach,” De Zerbi said.

“In my work, I am used to speaking with my players every day, for every question, every part of life, not only football. But I didn’t give my word for nothing.

“We didn’t speak about the next transfer market window and for me, he is a player like the others.

“OK, we are Brighton and I can understand we have to sell any player at the end of the season.

“But at the moment, I have not received news that Caicedo can leave tomorrow or in the next week. I start the next season with Caicedo in my head in the first 11, for sure.”

Transfer swap could resolve Caicedo and Colwill futures

Chelsea centre back Levi Colwill was on loan at Brighton last season and helped the club secure Europa League football.

Brighton are keen to bring the 20-year-old back to the club on a permanent basis, with Colwill having continued to excel since the end of the domestic campaign.

The centre-back was part of the England Under-21 squad that won the European Championships without conceding a goal.

“I am proud about Levi because he showed his quality with the national team and I am very happy for him. I love him but it is not our player,” De Zerbi said.

When asked about potential solutions for both clubs, he answered: “I don’t know. There are two questions. Not only about Caicedo, also about Colwill, and maybe it can be [a swap].”

Chelsea and Brighton will play against each other in the opening game of the Summer Series on Saturday.

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