CHELSEA have suffered a huge transfer blow in their hopes of signing Brighton star Moises Caicedo.
The Ecuadorian international was one of the Blues main transfer targets this summer as new manager Mauricio Pochettino looks to strengthen his midfield options.
Chelsea only have Conor Gallagher and Enzo Fernandez as senior central-midfielders in the squad following the exits of N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Matteo Kovacic, Mason Mount and loanee Denis Zakaria.
However, it is looking less likely that Caicedo will be arriving at Stamford Bridge during the current transfer window.
Brighton have already rejected two bids from the Blues this summer and are now expecting the midfielder to be at the club after the transfer window slams shut on September 1, according to Sky Sports.
The Seagulls value Caicedo at £100million and are said to have “immediately rejected” Chelsea’s most recent bid of £80m for him.
The report does suggest that the Blues have not yet given up on signing the 21-year-old and will return with another bid.
Chelsea are not the only club interested in his signature as it was claimed that another made an approach to Brighton.
The mystery club are believed to have offered more than Chelsea’s most recent offer.
Sky Sports also report that an unnamed Saudi Arabian club have made an approach.
No official bid has been submitted to Brighton, but the potential suitors have made clear how much they would be willing to pay.
Caicedo has emerged as one of the division’s top talents, prompting ever-increasing interest in his services.
Brighton previously rejected offers from Arsenal in the January transfer window with him then signing a new contract at the club.
Pochettino has been open with his desire to land a new midfielder.
Asked whether a new midfielder was enough for his squad after Chelsea’s pre-season clash with Newcastle, he replied: “That’s the idea. The club is working on that.
“We need to add a player there. We need one more with experience.
“It depends on the situation of different players. We need at least one more and we are working on that. It depends on what happens in the next few weeks.”
While Chelsea have not been able to agree a fee for Caicedo with Brighton, they are considerably closer to signing the club’s goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
The Spaniard, who will count towards the club’s homegrown quota, will provide competition for Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have completed the £23.5m signing of Rennes midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu on a seven-year contract.
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