Why Moises Caicedo did not join Arsenal or Chelsea in January
Brighton & Hove Albion's CEO Paul Barber has revealed the club's reasons for rejecting huge January bids from Arsenal for Moises Caicedo.
The 21-year-old was subject of intense interest from both the Gunners and Chelsea, and 90min previously reported on the former having a £65m offer plus £5m in add-ons turned down.
Caicedo had attempted to force a move away from the Amex Stadium, posting a message that expressed a desire to further his career at a bigger club, but then completed a sensational U-turn in early March by extending his contract.
The Ecuadorian did again express a desire to play in the Champions League, but is now committed to helping Brighton and their manager Roberto De Zerbi push for European qualification to continue what has been a superb season to date.
Interest in Caicedo is sure to resurface, either this summer or next, but Brighton CEO Barber has revealed to the The Beautiful Game Podcast the reasons behind the club's denial of a move.
“For us in January selling Moises was not a good move," Barber said. “He was one of our best players at the beginning of the season, and we were in a great position in the league, still in the FA Cup and there was a lot of football to play.
“We want to try and achieve our best-ever finish in the Premier League and if we do that there is a chance that we could qualify for European competitions.
“The stakes for us in the second half of the season and Moises was a big part of that.”
Barber added that Brighton felt compelled to do right by Caicedo, who travelled thousands of miles to move to the south coast from Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle in 2021 when he was still a teenager.
“He is also a young player, who is still learning his game," Barber added. “He is far away from the country that he was born in and therefore we have a responsibility to do the best for the player long-term as well as in the short-term for us.
“We felt that was best served by keeping Moises with us, trying to do the best we can for the rest of this season and what will be in the future will be.
“Moises is a top-class player and such a lovely and he has the potential to be anything that he wants to be, so this won’t be the only transfer window where Moises is a popular attraction for other clubs.
“We are really happy that he has settled back down, and his chance will come in the future to become whatever he wants to be and we are all very confident that will happen for him.”
Caicedo's new and improved contract now runs until the the summer of 2027 - Brighton also hold an option to extend for a further 12 months - and he was awarded a bumper pay rise for his role in the Seagulls' emergence as a top-flight force.
He has grabbed the vast majority of this season's headlines, alongside Kaoru Mitoma and Alexis Mac Allister, and rightly so. Superb on the ball, both in terms of passing ability and close control, Caicedo has illuminated games by helping Brighton dominate possession with their high intensity press, and his relentless energy makes him a tremendous ball winner.
If Caicedo continues on this path, he'll undoubtedly outgrow Brighton even if they do fulfil their European ambitions. But when the time to leave does come, another substantial profit is heading the way of the club's bank account - further evidence of the superb infrastructure owner Tony Bloom has funded the assembly of.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss the race to sign Jude Bellingham, Antonio Conte's Tottenham future, Roy Hodgson's return to Crystal Palace, Erling Haaland's contract, Mason Mount & more!
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