Gunner Thoughts

Caicedo: Bird’s Eye View

Arsenal have given themselves a tough challenge with convincing Brighton to sell another young star.

When there are only two windows of opportunity a year to purchase players, a lot of emphasis gets put on maximizing those periods. As you’d imagine, a lot of stress and fan anxiety happens throughout. And with the ramp up of social media and journalists detailing just about every breath a clubs takes that’s exhaled in the general direction of another club, time seems to slow down, speed up, and hurt all at once.

The January transfer window can be a club’s best friend in pushing for titles and fan approval; it can be a life preserver to a struggling side looking for answers to their mid-season woes; and it can be a stone with which Technical Directors, Directors of Football, Managers, Owners, and Clubs as a whole are pelted with.

It’s thirty days to push things to happen, thirty days strategize within your means to set up the team up for success, and, when your a team pushing for their first title in almost two decades, it’s thirty days to make sure if things fall through you’re not the person fingers get pointed at.

At the moment, Edu and Arsenal’s leadership may be feeling hot under the collar.

Time is ticking down with Deadline Day approaching, and the window has carried with it the full spectrum of emotions. The Mudryk Saga was long and ended in rage. The Trossard deal was quick and has the club looking very good after Leandro hit the ground running. The Kiwior deal with quick and effective to add a young prospect and depth to the backline. But the fact is, most fans will say the window is a failure if Arsenal can’t add depth to support Thomas Partey.

Thomas Partey isn’t hurt, although we are awaiting the news from rib scans, but he is an injury prone player and he’s someone who Arsenal literally cannot replace at the moment — at least not replace for an extended stretch and continue to believe they can win the league.

So Arsenal embarked on yet another January saga as they return to Brighton’s doorstep in the hopes of landing Moises Caicedo, a 21-year-old star prospect, and it’s a transfer that probably has a lot more angles that fans should be considering than the highly simplified one many seem to be taking.

Yes, Caicedo made a statement that he wants a move, and its a statement that’s born out of desperation, but as we saw with Mudryk, these players want moves to big clubs, they want an opportunity, but players are fickle and can be convinced to see reason, which is exactly what Brighton will be trying to do.

Through the eyes of a seagull

Brighton have externally stated, and stated to the player, that there is not a price tag for Caicedo. We all know money talks, but Brighton have a lot more leverage than many probably want to admit, and a lot of reason to work with Caicedo.

  • This is the best season Brighton have had, possibly in their First Division history. They have a real chance at pushing for European competitions with a new coach that has them playing excellent ball. In their world, this is a chance to give something HUGE to their fans. Caicedo is a player that makes that a possibility for them, selling jeopardizes that.
  • Brighton have sold exceptionally well bringing in ~€137m by offloading Cucurella, Bissouma, Trossard, Maupay, and a few others.
  • Additionally, Brighton play in the Premier League which makes enough to money to see most clubs no longer NEED to sell up assets in situations like this.
  • Caicedo is a player that will be a very popular commodity in the Summer if Brighton are forced to sell at that point. Maybe they don’t get £70m offers, maybe they do, but they probably feel like they will have many suitors willing to offer close, and the difference in price is probably worth the chance to complete this season and push for Europe for themselves and their fans.

Summary: Brighton are in a financially sound place with a lot to play for and a player on their hands that is critical to their continued, immediate success. They possess his contract which is not up any time soon and have no real need to sell tomorrow if they don’t want to. If I’m Brighton, I’m dragging this saga out to the final minutes of Deadline Day and sitting down with Caicedo and agents in the meantime to convince them that there is value in seeing out the season and working with the club to sell in the summer (assuming Caicedo still wants his move).

Yes, Caicedo is very interested in the immediate opportunity to contend for a Premier League title, but there is probably a sales pitch revolving around finishing the season strong, having many suitors come knocking for this signature, leverage for better player wages, higher agent fees, better contract clauses, and leaving the club on a high note.

The fact is, there isn’t a LOT of reason that Brighton will feel incentive for working with Arsenal to negotiate here. And if all our eggs are in the basket of the player forcing his way out, maybe prepare to be heartbroken once more by that fickle bitch.

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

The incentive through the eyes of Arsenal is incredible obvious, which maybe hurts negotiations. It also probably hurts that the world watched Arsenal match Chelsea’s 70+30m bid for Mudryk in this same window. They all know, to some extent, the club has money and is willing to push for this title.

It puts Arsenal in a tough place, and one that is not as simple as “pay the money”, if they club don’t have to — even if that’s exactly what it would take to make this happen.

  1. Since the offer for Mudryk, we have allocated 27m in outlay for Trossard
  2. We are not aware of how much money the club is capable of or willing to pull forward from the Summer’s spend and the needs of the rest of the project, nor the structure that Brighton are demanding up front
  3. The club is linked with Declan Rice in the summer, and while some may view Caicedo is a replacement or an upgrade, the club may not but this fee is well within the territory of almost needing to be. Some will argue there is room in our system for both players, and maybe there is, but that is a lot of money wrapped in three defensive midfielders moving forward.

No one wants to lose a title without leaving everything out on the pitch, literally and figuratively, but there must be a recognition that this fee is becoming incredibly exorbitant. It’s easy to say, “what’s another 5-10m” but the reality is Arsenal are likely already 15-20m over where they value the player, and steadily in the territory of “for the title it’s worth it” justifications.

So, with just a few days left, Arsenal may be stuck in that same position once again: walk away and risk it or pay up the full fee and give Brighton that offer they can’t refuse to test their resolve.

Everyone knows how the fans feel about it in this moment, and the fact is, there are even less defensive midfielders in the world with £80 million than there are attackers worth £100 million.

It will be difficult to see the club end the window without a backup for Partey, if they can’t get this deal across the finish line. The need has been obvious and they chose to undertake a transfer challenge that has always seemed unlikely, or exorbitant expensive. The leverage was never in their favor, and we may have to hope the club has a quick fallback option to turn to in the dying moments.

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