Arsenal dealt blow as Jacobs reveals Chelsea’s stance on battling rivals for £100m summer target

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal target Rice

Arsenal and Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sign West Ham United’s Declan Rice over Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo.

The two London clubs bid for Caicedo during the winter transfer window. Chelsea saw a £55m offer rejected at the start of the month, while Arsenal offered as much as £70m.

Brighton were holding out for around £80m so a deal did not go through in the end. Caicedo has since penned a new contract that runs until 2027. 

Ben Jacobs is reporting that this new deal is a way for Brighton to ‘reward his fine form’ and he notes that it could force their rivals to ‘pay a little bit more’ to prize the midfielder away.

Recent reports have suggested that Arsenal are focused on signing Rice over Caicedo ahead of the summer transfer window. It has been claimed that West Ham could demand as much as £100m for the Englishman. 

Jacobs points out that Arsenal will have to fight Chelsea for Rice, as they ‘both want him ahead of Caicedo’.

‘If Brighton do make Europe Caicedo could yet decide to put a transfer on ice. Then the two suitors from January, Arsenal and Chelsea, both want Rice ahead of Caicedo,’ Jacobs wrote for Caught Offside.

‘The Gunners are arguably favourites for the West Ham midfielder, who has spoken glowingly about Mikel Arteta and would prefer to stay in London.

‘As I have said many times, Rice will have plenty of suitors and although David Moyes claims he should be worth more than Enzo Fernandez’s British-record fee (£107m), a price tag of £75-80m is what suitors think feasible, especially with West Ham resigned to losing Rice.

‘It’s not to say clubs wouldn’t consider Rice and Caicedo, or whoever misses out on Rice won’t go for Caicedo instead. But there won’t be the same scramble due to other targets available and far more time in the window.’

Jacobs later states that Newcastle and Liverpool are also in the running to sign Caicedo from Brighton.

‘With Caicedo, keep an eye on Newcastle as well. Liverpool would need the price to drop from January to seriously consider entering the race,’ Jacobs added.

‘They have tracked Caicedo since his time at Independiente del Valle and now the agent situation is less complicated, they can’t be entirely discounted.

‘Liverpool are looking at many midfielders, including Wolves’ Matheus Nunes. And their big push (in terms of desire and finances) will be for Jude Bellingham, where confidence remains despite heavy competition.

‘Those familiar with Caicedo talks in January still maintain he should be worth less than the £70m guaranteed fee Real Madrid paid Monaco for Aurelien Tchouameni, but Brighton will milk the inflated market if they do choose to finally engage.’

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