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Arsenal prepared to rival Chelsea in race to sign 2 transfer targets: Reports

Both Arsenal and Chelsea are hoping to bolster their midfield depth.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea are hoping to bolster their midfield depth.

Arsenal are reportedly ready to compete with Chelsea for the signatures of two of their top transfer targets — Brighton & Hove Albion star Moises Caicedo and Everton ace Amadou Onana.

Caicedo, 21, has emerged as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League in the ongoing 2022-23 campaign. The 28-cap Ecuador international has started 21 of his team's 23 matches so far, registering a goal and an assist in the process. He also impressed at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scoring one goal in three appearances.

Onana, on the other hand, has been a shining light in Everton's flailing squad this season. Since arriving from LOSC Lille for £33 million last summer, the 21-year-old Belgian midfielder has netted one goal and provided as many assists in 20 games across all competitions.

🔵🇧🇪 Initially unthinkable, the departure of Frank #Lampard coupled with the urgent cash needs at #EvertonFC opens the door to a departure from Amadou #Onana this winter. #ChelseaFC & #ArsenalFC who are looking for a similar profile + #NUFC shown their interest. To be continued. https://t.co/6AUXKgFdXT

According to Evening Standard, Arsenal have earmarked Caicedo and Onana as alternative options for West Ham captain Declan Rice. Both midfielders have been linked with Chelsea of late, with Brighton already rejecting two bids over £55 million for the Ecuadorian's services.

Speaking to the club media, Caicedo reaffirmed his allegiance to the Seagulls amid a host of rumors involving his future. He elaborated:

"I am focused on Brighton now. I am here, I'm playing every day. Things from outside don't trouble me, nor does it take the focus away, because I'm focused only on here. I handle [the transfer speculations] well. You always hear rumours here and there, but I only try to be focused on the club where I am now, the club that opened the doors for me and gave me the chance to play every week."

Caicedo, who has a contract until June 2025 at the Amex Stadium, has registered two goals and three assists in 31 overall games for Roberto De Zerbi's side so far. He is currently valued at a steep fee of around £75 million, according to CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs.

Emmanuel Petit sends transfer message to Arsenal-linked star amid Chelsea interest

Speaking on beIN Sports, former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit urged Declan Rice to move to the north London club. He said:

"Declan, if you're listening, my message is very simple. If you want to improve – you're already a great player – and win silverware, you have to come Arsenal! I'm sorry to West Ham fans, but I think there is no choice for him but to come here [at the Emirates Stadium]."

Rice, who is in the final 18 months of his deal, is believed to cost the Gunners a fee in the region of £80 million, according to The Guardian. The 24-year-old holding midfielder has also been on Chelsea's transfer radar for quite a number of years.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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