Chelsea have reportedly informed Brighton they are not willing to meet their asking price of £80m for Moises Caicedo.
Brighton turned down two offers from Arsenal for the Ecuador international in the January transfer window but are ready to allow him leave for the right price this summer with Manchester United also keen on his services.
Chelsea are believed to be favourites to land the 21-year-old, having agreed personal terms with the midfielder.
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But the West London side are yet to open negotiations with Brighton & according to The Times, have informed the Blues they have no plans to meet their asking price.
Chelsea’s stance could open the door for Man United, who have been frustrated in their attempts to sign Mason Mount.
Chelsea have rejected three bids for the England midfielder with United now exploring alternatives, one of which is Caicedo.
While the Brighton player would cost more than the £65m deal Chelsea are demanding for Mount, United acknowledge an £80m fee would be justified for a player of Caicedo’s potential.
United have held discussions with Caicedo’s representatives amid their struggles to agree a deal for Mount.
Their latest offer, £50m plus another £5m in add-ons, remains on the table but other options are being explored with Ajax player Muhammed Kulus & Taylor Booth of FC Utrecht.
The Red Devils have also revived their attempts to sign Adrien Rabiot from Serie A Juventus.
A move for the Frenchman fell through last summer but talks with the 28-year-old are underway with his contract with the Bianconeri set to expire at the end of June.
Chelsea confirmed the exit of Koulibaly on Sunday with Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech, Mateo Kovacic and Havertz all expected to complete their moves away this week.
And Nicolas Jackson is poised to complete his £32million move from Villarreal having successfully completed his medical on Sunday.