Arsenal are eager to sign a new midfielder before the January window deadline and have out-bid Chelsea for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, though their offer has been turned down.
The Gunners have been rocked by the news that Mohamed Elneny is facing a lengthy lay-off, possibly ruling him out for the rest of the Premier League campaign.
Mikel Arteta was already light on options in midfield and had been looking for more cover as far back as last summer, when Arsenal were unable to sign Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa.
Although Jakub Kiwior has been added to their ranks, the Polish youngster is seen mainly as a centre-back despite also deputising as a defensive midfielder.
Arsenal have been linked with signing a new enforcer, with players like West Ham’s Declan Rice and Everton’s Amadou Onana both on their radar – though any move was expected to wait until the summer.
But Elneny’s injury has changed the situation and The Athletic are claiming that Arsenal made a £60million offer to sign Caicedo from Brighton.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding season so far for the Seagulls and is also being pursued by Chelsea, who had a £55m verbal proposal rejected this month.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Brighton have turned down their £60m offer too and are adamant Caicedo is not for sale this month.
The south-coast side have already lost Leandro Trossard to the Gunners this month, though the teams enjoy a very good relationship and completed the £27m deal quickly and with little fuss.
But Brighton are adamant their position will not change and they do not want to allow Caicedo leave in the middle of the season, and particularly so late in the transfer window.
Arsenal have enough funds to spend after missing out on Mykhailo Mudryk – who instead joined Chelsea – with the north London side having budgeted around £65m for that deal which is still available to invest.
It remains to be seen if the Gunners will return with a new bid for Caicedo, though it would take a club-record offer to convince Brighton to sell.