Brighton reject Arsenal's £60m offer for Moises Caicedo - sources

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Moises Caicedo has told Brighton & Hove Albion fans he wants to be allowed to leave the club after sources told ESPN that Arsenal had a £60 million offer for the midfielder rejected.

Arsenal have bolstered their squad with the signings of Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior so far this month. Sources have told ESPN Brighton are not willing to let Caicedo join Mikel Arteta's side in January despite the player wanting to move to the Emirates Stadium.

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Despite Brighton's stance, Arsenal are expected to return imminently with an improved offer, sources said.

"I am grateful to [Brighton owner] Mr. Bloom and Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best for them. I always play football with a smile and with heart," Caicedo said on social media on Friday.

"I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador. My dream always to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador.

"I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to be successful."

"The fans have taken me into their hearts and they will always be in my heart so I hope they can understand why I want to take up this magnificent opportunity."

According to sources, the Premier League leaders were interested in signing Caicedo even before he joined Brighton in 2021.

Sources also added that Arsenal would still be keen on signing West Ham United captain Declan Rice even if they can get the Caicedo deal over the line.

Arsenal's need for midfield reinforcements this month may intensity depending on the results of an MRI scan that Thomas Partey will undergo following an injury to his ribs that forced the Ghana international to be taken off during Friday's FA Cup defeat to Man City.

Brighton have seen multiple players leave the club in high-value transfers in recent seasons. Marc Cucurella and Yves Bissouma left the club to join Chelsea and Tottenham respectively in the summer, while Ben White also departed for Arsenal in 2021.

At a news conference on Friday, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said: "Moises is a good guy, he's focused only on us. He's relaxed. I hope he stays with us until at least the end of the season.

"I spoke with Moises and told him it's difficult to change during the season. I spoke to him as a father, not a coach.

"The interest in our players is a good thing. We are working in a good way, the right way."

Brighton are sixth in the Premier League, five points off fifth-placed Tottenham with two games in hand.

Information from ESPN's Julien Laurens was used in this report.