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Brighton captain Lewis Dunk has opened up about Moises Caicedo’s failed transfer to Arsenal last month, saying that he is “grateful” that the talented Ecuadorian midfielder has remained at the club.
The Gunners made a concerted effort to sign Caicedo from the Seagulls during the winter transfer window, though Albion remained steadfast in their unwillingness to do business with the league leaders.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was keen to bolster his options in the middle of the park following the injury to Mohamed Elneny and the departure of Albert Sambi Lokonga, who joined Crystal Palace on loan until June.
However, despite sending two huge concrete offers to Brighton for their prized asset, the Gunners’ efforts were thwarted and they turned instead to veteran Chelsea anchorman Jorginho, who was eventually acquired for a fraction of the price they offered for primary target, Caicedo.
Dunk says keeping Caicedo was a massive statement
Brighton captain and long-serving stalwart Lewis Dunk discussed Caicedo’s future and failed move with TalkSPORT, saying: “He’s a young boy, and we stick with him. He’s a great lad, and obviously a fantastic player. Who knows how long we’ll have him for? We’re grateful to have him for at least the rest of the season, and hopefully for longer.
“I think it’s a massive statement from the club, standing their ground. Obviously, we’ve sold players over the years to bigger clubs. But I think it’s a great statement to show that we want to keep him, and I think rightly so.
“Obviously, it was a difficult situation for him. These things happen in football. It’s not the first and won’t be the last time players at a football club having this going on over their head.”
Brighton stood firm on Ecuadorian
Brighton snapped Moises Caicedo up from Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle in January 2021, paying a fee believed to be in the region of just £4.5m for the then 19-year-old.
Caicedo had been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, though the Red Devils hesitated and the Seagulls swooped in to pick up what proved to be a major bargain.
The youngster went out on loan to Belgian outfit Beerschot initially, before he was called by Brighton in January 2022 and from there Caicedo’s reputation began to spike as soon as he was handed an opportunity to shine.
Caicedo’s energy and combative spirit allowed him to make an instant impact in the top tier, while his eye for an accurate pass confirmed that the Ecuadorian international was a genuine star in the making.
Brighton had already sold Ben White (£50m – July ’21) and Leandro Trossard (£28m – January ’23) to Arsenal in recent transfer windows, though they refused to buckle when pressured into selling a third key first-teamer, despite the Gunners and Caicedo himself putting the squeeze on in the last weeks of January.
However, Arsenal are likely to revisit a move for Caicedo in the summer, though the Londoners should face stiffer competition for his signature with Chelsea also thought to be interested in wrangling Caicedo away from Albion.