Arsenal are reportedly eyeing up a move for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo and will rival Chelsea in the chase for the Ecuador international this summer.
Caicedo, 21, has been widely linked with a move to Stamford Bridge this month but the Blues have seen two bids rejected for him, with the Seagulls declaring their star man is not for sale.
The midfielder was reportedly keen on the transfer, but was not willing to force through a departure from Brighton and Chelsea are now resigned to missing out on him in January.
And, according to the Evening Standard, the Gunners may now potentially rival the Blues when they revisit a move for the Ecuadorian in the summer.
Arsenal are keen to sign a new midfielder for next season with the Gunners lacking strength in depth in that position.
Declan Rice is emerging as one of their top targets, with the 24-year-old widely-expected to leave West Ham in the summer.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side are also looking at alternative to Rice, and Caicedo has emerged as a strong option.
When speaking earlier on Tuesday, Caicedo had insisted he was only concentrating on playing for De Zerbi’s side and continuing their impressive season which sees them in sixth place.
He said: ‘I am focused on Brighton. I am here, I’m playing every day. Things from outside don’t trouble me, nor does it take that focus away, because I’m focused only on here.
‘I handle [the speculation] well. You hear rumours here and there, but I only try to be focused on the club where I am now, the club that opened the doors for me to be playing every week.’
Caicedo joined the Seagulls from Independiente del Valle in Ecuador back in 2021.
He has since gone on to make 31 appearances for the club and has established himself as one of the most promising midfielders in the Premier League.
With the potential hijack of Chelsea’s move for the Brighton midfielder, it could be seen as an attempt to get revenge from the Gunners after they were gazumped to the signing of top January target Mykhailo Mudryk by the Blues this month.
The Ukrainian star had been expected join Arsenal, but Chelsea closed a deal with Shakhtar Donestsk instead to beat their London rivals to the signing of Mudryk.
The report also stated Chelsea are expected to reopen talks over a move for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez this week as they continue to spend in the January transfer window.
The Blues have already made the additions of David Datro Fofana, Andre Santos, Benoit Badiashile, Mykhailo Mudryk, Joao Felix and Noni Madueke this month.
They are eager to improve their situation, with Graham Potter’s side currently in tenth place in the Premier League – and 10 points off the top four.