Caicedo’s possible move to Arsenal: why Arteta wants the highly-rated Brighton midfielder

Arsenal are willing to sign Brighton midfield player Moses Caicedo before the end of the transfer window, and the player expressed his wish to leave the club tonight.

the athletic check out the reasoning behind the midfielder’s move, what Brighton’s take is, and how exactly the Ecuadorian would benefit the league leaders on the pitch.

What do Arsenal think when it comes to Caicedo?

In manager Edu’s office in London Colney there is a blackboard with a diagram illustrating the depth of Arsenal’s first team squad. It’s right in front of the Brazilian’s desk: he has confessed to spending hours looking at it, pondering possible deals and their permutations.

At the start of the January transfer window, Edu would have noted three obvious gaps in that diagram: striker, central midfield and left centre-back.

If Arsenal’s efforts to sign Caicedo before Tuesday’s deadline prove successful, they will have addressed all three areas of concern (after to ensure the winger Leandro Trossard Y center Jakub Kiwior). It’s fair to say that in December, even the most optimistic among the Arsenal staff would not have considered it likely.

Squad building is a long-term process and, at the beginning of the month, the expectation was that the central midfielder position would be addressed in the summer. Arsenal were hoping, perhaps at the time even hoping, to make a significant outlay on a deal to Mykhailo Mudryk. It was felt that Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny Y Albert Sambi Lokonga it would provide enough depth in the base midfield.

As the window opened, that situation changed. Mudryk’s decision to join chelsea freed up considerable resources. Arsenal moved quickly to sign Trossard, but their top fee for the Belgium international will be just £27m ($33.4m), some £60m cheaper than the £87m. that Mudryk could have ultimately cost.

Around the same time, in preparation for the tottenham Elneny suffered an injury that has prevented him from playing since. In some respects, he remembered the last days of the summer window, when an injury to the Egyptian led Arsenal to try to sign on the deadline day. louis douglas of astonville.

Mikel Arteta has admitted that he is concerned about the extent of Elneny’s injury. “He had some knee problems that we are assessing at the moment and we will have to see how he evolves in the coming days,” he said this week. “There are concerns, especially since Mo is a player who never complains about anything.”

And in the FA Cup match against manchester city tonight, Partey was pulled at half-time with a rib injury. “We didn’t want to take any risks,” Arteta said after the game. “He couldn’t continue.”

The unexpected availability of funds, and the equally unexpected unavailability of Elneny (and now potentially Partey), appear to have caused Arsenal to speed up their plans to sign a new midfielder. the arsenal has a long-term interest in Declan Ricebut west ham they would probably never let their captain leave in January.

Arteta and Arsenal needed someone they thought possible right now, and Caicedo quickly rose to the top of their list. They believe that the 21-year-old has the ability to be a complement to Partey, as well as being his potential heir. At a time when Arteta’s faith in Lokonga appears to be waning, the Ecuador international would add quality and depth to Arsenal’s midfield options. The fact that he would arrive with important Premier league Experience is also a key factor in Arsenal’s interest.

Caicedo with the ball in Brighton’s game against Leicester last weekend (Photo: Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

However, this will not be an easy deal to complete, certainly not as easy as the Trossard negotiations were. In that situation, the player had fallen out with the manager and Brighton were content to sell.

His attitude towards Caicedo is different. They dismissed Arsenal’s £60m offer outrightand insist that the player is not for sale in this window. His determination is strengthened by the fact that Caicedo gave an interview to Brighton’s website on January 24 in which he claimed to be “Brighton-focused”.

Arsenal seem intent on testing that resolve, and how the player reacts to the declined offer could influence any negotiations.

It’s an ambitious move from Arsenal in every way – a difficult transfer to pull off but one that would strengthen the team substantially. Whether he leaves or not, the intention cannot be questioned: Arsenal is going for him.

James McNicholas

What do we know about the Brighton position?

Brighton’s position on Caicedo has been clear throughout the January transfer window.

Offers from Chelsea (£55m) and Arsenal (£60m) fell well short of their valuation for a player they have no interest in selling mid-season, particularly as they face a serious challenge to qualify for Europe for the first time in the club’s history.

Caicedo has been an integral part of his progress under both former head coach Graham Potter and now Roberto De Zerbi over the past year.

It feels as if the midfielder has been on the scene much longer, such has been the scale and continuity of his impact. Actually, by this time last year, he hadn’t kicked a ball for Brighton.

He had time to settle in his first six months at the club, watching games from the bench after signing from home side Independiente del Valle for around £4m at the end of the January 2021 transfer window.

Remembered from a loan to the Belgian club Beerschot in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign, Caicedo made his debut in the 3-1 FA Cup loss to Tottenham last February and has reached the Premier League like a fish in water in the period since.

Internally, he was considered the elected successor of Yves Bissouma, Brighton’s goalscorer that day in north London. As it happened, he proved to be a key component of the midfield both before and after Bissouma’s sale to Tottenham last summer.

He has forged a formidable dual-pivot alliance with the World Cup-winning Argentine. Alexis McAllister since leaving Bissouma, but he is just as capable of operating in isolation as a defensive midfielder or in a three.

Caicedo reportedly caught Arteta’s eye on his Premier League debut in Brighton’s 2-1 win at The Emirates last April, a defeat that dented Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. An outstanding display included an exchange of passes with Trossard before crossing for Enock Mwepu to score the decisive goal.

On that evidence alone, Arsenal fans should be excited about the prospect of Caicedo met Trossard again after the Belgian’s move to the Emirates earlier this month.

Significantly, Brighton have won or drawn 25 of the 31 games Caicedo has featured in. At 21, he is a special and accomplished talent with and without the ball. Many midfielders are good in possession, less so in defensive situations, but Caicedo has great tactical and positional awareness as he helps protect the defence, win the ball back and use it with crisp, composed passing range.

Moises Caicedo, Brighton

Caicedo has become a key player in Brighton’s midfield (Photo: David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images)

In addition, he is combative, athletic and agile, with a powerful shot and eye for goal when the opportunity presents itself, as he demonstrated by scoring against manchester united last season and in Potter’s last game in charge, at home to Leicester in August.

Potter commented at the time that an offer of around £40m would “probably get his boots”. His successor at the Amex Stadium, De Zerbi, considers Caicedo one of the best midfielders in Europe.

In a fatherly chat with Caicedo on Wednesday, the Italian urged Caicedo to stay for “another four months,” noting the discomfort of moving mid-season. “It won’t change much if he leaves now or during the summer,” says De Zerbi. “If you are a good person, a good player, the opportunity will be now but also in the summer, next winter. Always.”

But on Friday night, Caicedo issued a statement on social media where he expressed his desire to leave the club. He said: “I’m grateful to Mr Bloom and Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel like I’ve always done what’s best for them. I always play soccer with a smile and with my heart.

“I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santo Domingo in Ecuador. My dream is always to be the most successful player in the history of Ecuador.

“I am proud to be able to generate a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to succeed.

“The fans have taken me into their hearts and will always be in my heart, so I hope you can understand why I want to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”

andy nylor

Why does Arsenal want Caicedo?

It would be a significant transfer fee for a defensive midfielder who has only made 26 Premier League appearances, but some of Caicedo’s other numbers hint at why he has become one of the most sought-after players in the division.

His first Premier League goal came in May, but it was during the first half of 2022-23 that Caicedo, who scored in the World Cup against Senegal, matured into the kind of talent that sparks interest from the biggest clubs. league bigs. Getting him out of a deep position is as close as you can get to Rodri without really to be the Manchester City player.

So far this season, only Rodri (4.15) has a higher xG value in self-initiated open play passing sequences than Caicedo (3.08), while only Rodri (90)—again — has been involved in more open play. Sequences that have ended in shots higher than Caicedo (55).

Defensively, Caicedo ranks in the top five percent for position in tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes in Europe’s top five leagues, while being the third-best airborne midfielder among his Premier League contemporaries, with a rate of success in aerial duels of 70 percent. He too would fit perfectly into the Arsenal squad, having largely played as part of a double pivot for Brighton in a 4-2-3-1.

And while he’s not on the team to create scoring chances, Caicedo’s 2022-23 open play chance creation rate of 1.12 per 90 is roughly on the level of Rice (1.10), Bruno Guimaraes (1 .15) and, you guessed it, Rodri ( 1.09).

City may have sold Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko to them last summer, but there’s no chance Pep Guardiola will let Arsenal get hold of the man who anchors the heart of their midfield. If they manage to sign Caicedo, Arsenal will arguably have done the next best thing.

alexander duncan

(Top photo: Getty Images; graphics: Mark Carey)

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