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EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal prioritise Caicedo summer transfer
The Gunners repeatedly tried to sign the 21-year-old from the Seagulls during the last transfer period and had multiple bids knocked back as they attempted to seal a deal for the player.
He remains on the club’s summer transfer shortlist and has become their priority following the decision of Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi to commit his future to the LaLiga club earlier this week.
“Leaving Real Sociedad behind with the season that we’re having would be illogical. I’m very happy here,” he told Sport. “I’m expecting a calm summer. “Beyond the release) clause, when someone wants to be at a club, the clause doesn’t matter.”
Zubimendi is a player Arsenal appreciate and were ready to fight over with Barcelona ahead of the summer.
With the Spain international now effectively locked down, the Gunners will revisit Caicedo, who is thought to be a more viable target despite also recently signing a new deal with Brighton that runs until 2027, with the south coast side holding a one-year option on top of that for the £60,000-per-week player.
Arsenal do not want Caicedo at all costs
Arsenal, though, will not be held to ransom over a deal. The Emirates club want to sign two midfielders this summer and also have Declan Rice in their sights.
However, Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu have been handed a total budget of £150 million for the summer, excluding money that Arsenal will get should they secure Champions League football and potentially even the title.
Nevertheless, the club showed with the Mykhailo Mudryk saga, when they allowed the Ukraine international go to Chelsea when they would not meet Shakhtar Donetsk’s "damaging" transfer demands, that they will be rigid with their valuations of their targets and will not spend above £100m for either player.
Should Arsenal miss out on Caicedo and Rice, they do have other players on their shortlist that they would be able to switch their attention to.