Pete O'Rourke column: Chelsea plot swap deal, Newcastle jet out for £20m+ talks, Aston Villa open McGinn negotiations, Liverpool want second Brighton star
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My understanding is that the Blues will step up their interest in Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo after a deal for Sporting CP ace Manuel Ugarte fell through.
Caicedo was already on the list, and I’m told he would be interested in moving to Stamford Bridge in the summer window.
Brighton turned down offers in January – but despite his new contract, there is an understanding between player and club about being allowed to leave if the right offer comes in.
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Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United are all also interested, but their respective moves for Declan Rice, Alexis Mac Allister and Mason Mount could clear the path for Chelsea to land Caicedo.
The Londoners have held a long-term interest in the Ecuador international, and see him as a superstar in the making.
I’m told Brighton will demand a fee of around £80-85million for the 21-year-old.
Another route to a potential agreement could be by including Levi Colwill in part-exchange – a solution which would help alleviate Chelsea’s Financial Fair Play concerns. Discussions have been held internally over this possibility.
Talks are ongoing between Villa and captain John McGinn over a new contract.
He is seen as a key member of Unai Emery’s squad going forward – and I’m told they want to tie him down to a new long-term deal to ward off any potential interest.
The 28-year-old has two years left to run on his current agreement, and all parties are optimistic about extending his Villa Park stay.
McGinn is likely to be handed fresh terms by Aston Villa, which will see his wage hiked to bring him in line with top earners and reflect his importance to the side.
Meanwhile, Leon Bailey is in a similar position to McGinn and Ollie Watkins – who continues to hold renewal talks with club chiefs.
I’m told the winger has a “big year ahead” in the 2023-24 campaign after only showing glimpses of his full potential since joining in 2021.
Emery is a fan of his, but Bailey is on a big contract – and Villa are set to weigh up his future mid-season.
The Midlands giants are also in search of attacking reinforcements in the summer window.
Sources say a move for Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix cannot be ruled out amid links with the former Chelsea loanee.
Villa are ambitious, with the high-profile signing of Philippe Coutinho proving that – and Felix has been offered to them, as well as several other Premier League sides.
The Magpies are now intensifying their efforts to sign Fenerbahce sensation Arda Guler.
This development follows a meeting between Newcastle representatives and the player’s family in Dubai last month.
The 18-year-old, who has been dubbed the ‘Turkish Messi’, is seen as a future star in the making by Newcastle chiefs, I’m told.
Fenerbahce are desperate to keep the attacking midfielder, but there is growing interest from the Tynesiders – as well as Barcelona and Ajax.
A release clause in Guler’s deal has been cancelled following his involvement for the Turkish giants this season, meaning it could now cost upwards of £20million to secure his signature.
Newcastle are not planning to loan him out if a deal can be done, I’m told.
They see him as having the ability to help Eddie Howe’s side in the 2023-24 season – with the extra rigours of Champions League football set to take hold.
Meanwhile, it’s likely to be another summer window with plenty of interest in Allan Saint-Maximin.
I’m told Newcastle will consider offers if the right fee is presented to them.
Howe will have to make a decision on the winger’s future this summer – and sources say the player himself could push for an exit in the search of regular first-team football.
I’m told a free transfer move for Mahmoud Dahoud is signed, sealed and delivered.
An announcement is expected this week, with the midfielder set to sign a four-year deal at the Amex Stadium.
Brighton have moved quickly to get him for free, beating off interest in the Germany international from other clubs.
He will help fill the void left by Mac Allister and Caicedo, who are expected to leave the south coast club this summer.
Their exits will mean big funds are available to Roberto De Zerbi, who will be allowed to conduct big-money business despite Brighton already breaking their club record to sign Joao Pedro.
The Seagulls are happy with the signings of Pedro, Dahoud – and a free transfer move for James Milner.
I’m told another central midfielder is on the radar, as well as a centre-back and a full-back.
Brighton are keen to back De Zerbi with his preferred targets this summer, regardless of the fees involved.