Chelsea to use £45m star to beat Man Utd to Moises Caicedo transfer | Football

Brighton are preparing to cash in on the midfielder (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Moises Caicedo and are considering using a £45m star to help strike a deal with Brighton.

The Blues have been heavily linked with a move for the Ecuador international but were thought to be facing fierce competition from Arsenal, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Arsenal are now focusing their efforts on signing West Ham captain Declan Rice, however, and Chelsea’s interest in Caicedo is thought to be more substantial than that of United or Munich.

As a result, the Daily Telegraph say Chelsea are in pole position to bring Caicedo to Stamford Bridge, though they still need to negotiate a deal with Brighton.

Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi confirmed at the end of the season that Caicedo – along with new Liverpool signing Alexis Mac Allister – would likely leave this summer.

But Brighton expect to receive a substantial offer for Caicedo, having rejected bids in the region of £70m from Arsenal in January.

Brighton owner Tony Bloom is understood to value the 21-year-old as high as £120m and will want any fee to be closely matched to the one West Ham fetch for Rice.

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Moises Caicedo (Picture: Getty)

Caicedo enjoyed a brilliant season on the south coast, helping Brighton finish sixth in the Premier League and qualify for Europe for the first time in the club’s history.

Chelsea have no intention of paying more than £100m for Caicedo and are considering using a number of players as bait in the prospective deal.

It is claimed Chelsea may even be prepared to include England midfielder Conor Gallagher in the deal – a player Brighton have already expressed interest in.

While Gallagher is liked at Stamford Bridge, he was a bit-part player last season and could be open to a move to another Premier League side.

Everton made a £45m bid for Gallagher in January, while Tottenham have shown interest in signing the 23-year-old this summer.

Chelsea, who finished just 12th in the Premier League last season, are preparing for another busy transfer window, with Christopher Nkunku and Malo Gusto arriving at Stamford Bridge after the post-season break.

By then, the Blues will hope to have added Caicedo to Mauricio Pochettino’s squad and made progress in their pursuit of a new striker.

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