Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi believes Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo will leave the club amid interest from Liverpool and Arsenal, respectively.
Mac Allister and Caicedo played crucial roles from midfield for the Seagulls this term as they secured a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League. However, De Zerbi feels the duo may not be present for the club's first-ever European campaign in next season's UEFA Europa League.
The Italian tactician said (as quoted by Metro):
‘‘They deserve to change level of team and competition, we have to be happy for them. We are Brighton and our policy is to help the young players to progress, we can’t keep our best players. That is right, it is our mentality and we have to find more young players.’’
He added during an interview with the BBC's "Match of the Day" (via the aforementioned source):
‘‘Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo both have been incredible people, incredible players, I am really sorry for them if they will leave but they deserve to play in another level."
‘‘We have to find other big players, it will be very difficult to find players with the same quality and levels but it is our policy. We are not a big, big, big team and we improve and sell the best players.’’
Mac Allister has been a target for Liverpool for a few weeks now. According to Metro, the Reds have already agreed personal terms with the Argentine as well as a £70 million fee with Brighton.
Liverpool are in need of a rebuild in midfield and depth is an issue given the departures of free agents James Milner, Naby Keita, and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain. Mac Allister's potential arrival is expected to help freshen up their aging midfield core.
Meanwhile, Arsenal were rumored to be keen on signing Caicedo in January, but the move did not go through. As per the aforementioned source, the Gunners have retained their interest in the Ecuadorian.
Arsenal look set to lose Granit Xhaka this summer and signing a player of Caicedo's quality could help them mount a title challenge next season as well.
Since joining the Seagulls from Boca Juniors in 2020, Mac Allister has scored 20 goals and laid out nine assists in 109 matches across competitions. Caicedo, on the other hand, has recorded two goals and three assists in 53 matches since arriving in the 2021 winter transfer window.
How did Arsenal target Caicedo and Liverpool-linked Mac Allister perform in what could be their final game for Brighton?
Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo both featured in Brighton & Hove Albion's final match of the 2022-23 season, a Premier League clash against Aston Villa. While Mac Allister started the game on Sunday (May 28), Caicedo came on at half-time.
The Liverpool-linked midfielder played all 90 minutes and had a solid outing, recording a key pass and a big chance created while completing 84% of his passes. He also won six of his 11 ground duels, all three aerial duels, and four fouls in addition to making two tackles and a clearance.
Caicedo also left his imprint on the game after replacing Yasin Ayari for the second half. He completed 32 of his 38 passes, including both long-ball attempts, and won two of his four duels. The Arsenal target also recorded two clearances and an interception.
Despite their efforts, Brighton fell to a 2-1 defeat to Villa on the final day of Premier League action for the season. Some other notable results saw Manchester City lose 1-0 to Brentford, Arsenal thrash Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-0 and Liverpool draw 4-4 with Southampton.