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Arsenal’s bid for Moises Caicedo gets a boost from Brighton manager

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Roberto De Zerbi has said Brighton are “ready to move forward” without midfielder Moises Caicedo, as Arsenal prepare to step up their interest in the 21-year-old ahead of Tuesday’s transfer UKTN.

Arsenal had turned down a £60m offer last week, with Brighton insisting Caicedo is not for sale this month, but the Premier League leaders are strongly considering making another offer before the window closes.

Caicedo made it clear this month that he wants to leave Brighton and has not trained since posting an extraordinary statement on social media on Friday. He was not involved in Brighton’s FA Cup victory over Liverpool on Sunday, despite De Zerbi initially planning to start him in midfield.

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“I can understand if you received a request from a large team”

De Zerbi’s post-match comments were the first suggestion that Caicedo could leave this month, although Brighton’s head coach made it clear he would still prefer the midfielder to stay until the end of the season.

“Caicedo is a very good guy,” De Zerbi said. “I can understand him because when you are 21 and you get the request from a big, big team playing in Europe, I can understand.

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“I’d like him to finish the season with us, but we’re ready to move on without him. I think we need some players in some positions – I’ve talked to Tony a lot.” [Bloom, the club’s owner] and he knows my opinion very well. We are a good team, but we can also improve on the transfer market.”

Chelsea have also shown interest in Caicedo this month, having previously rejected a £55million bid of their own in January. It remains to be seen if they decide to compete with Arsenal in the closing days of the window, having already beaten their north London rivals by signing winger Mykhaylo Mudryk this month.

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