Liverpool have outbid Chelsea for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo after it emerged that Chelsea had done the same for the Reds’ no.1 midfield target Romeo Lavia on Wednesday evening.
Both sides are in desperate need of a defensive midfielder before they meet each other on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. As it stands, only Stefan Bajcetic is a recognised no.6 in Jurgen Klopp’s squad following the sale of Fabinho to Al-Ittihad, while Enzo Fernandez is his only recognised counterpart that Mauricio Pochettino can call upon.
Though Chelsea are in the closing stages for a deal for Tyler Adams, he will not be fit until the end of August, and is viewed largely as a backup option to a first choice incoming midfielder.
That man was ideally Caicedo. The Blues have been chasing the Ecuadorian midfielder since January, and have seen a total of five bids rejected by the Seagulls this year, most recently thought to be a bid worth £80m.
Having seen Declan Rice move to Arsenal for £105m earlier in the summer, Brighton feel that they can demand a similar amount for Caicedo, who is three years younger and, in their view, of a similar calibre.
The south-coast side have remained firm on their price tag of £100m, and having already lost Alexis Mac Allister this summer are in no rush to sell ahead of their first ever Europa League campaign.
Late on Wednesday, however, it was reported that they had lodged a £48m offer for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, who was thought to be Liverpool’s no.1 target in defensive midfield and favours a move to Anfield as things stand.
Now, the reason why has become clear, with Liverpool having switched their focus to Caicedo and reportedly having even outbid Chelsea. However, they face the same problem as the Blues, with Caicedo favouring a move to Chelsea.
Both sides are scrambling for additions before Sunday’s clash, and are expected to make significant progress on any deals in the next 48 hours, but it could be that Lavia and Caicedo get different moves to the ones that they were anticipating.