By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

22nd May, 2023 | 6:45am

Pete O'Rourke transfer column: Liverpool set to trigger release clause as West Ham open talks over marquee deal

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The Seagulls are bracing for a very busy summer transfer window, with Roberto De Zerbi’s squad set for an overhaul.

The south coast side have moved early to secure deals for Joao Pedro, James Milner and Borussia Dortmund’s Mahmoud Dahoud.

The agreements for the trio are all finalised and they are now set to join Brighton when the summer window opens next month.

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Brighton believe that around ’70 per cent’ of their transfer business has now already been completed, but they are still in the hunt for two more signings.

De Zerbi still wants another midfielder signed this summer, as well as a left-back to provide competition and depth for Pervis Estupinan.

Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi is a priority midfield target for Brighton, and they are willing to go head-to-head with Man United for his signature this summer.

In terms of outgoings, Brighton are now resigned to losing both Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister this summer.

Arsenal lead the race for Caicedo ahead of Chelsea, with their Champions League qualification giving them the edge over their London rivals.

It is understood that a clause in Caicedo’s new Brighton contract will become active in the summer that will accelerate his exit from the club.

The exact details of the clause are unknown, but Brighton expect a fee of £70-80million for the 21-year-old.

Similarly, Mac Allister is also expected to now leave the Amex Stadium this summer with Liverpool in pole position to sign the World Cup winner.

Man United and Chelsea are also keeping tabs on Mac Allister’s availability, but Jurgen Klopp’s side are clear frontrunners.

Liverpool are in talks with Brighton over how to structure a fee for Mac Allister, with a release clause set to become active in his contract this summer.

With both Caicedo and Mac Allister set to depart, De Zerbi has instructed the Brighton board to block any bids for other key players.

Kaoru Mitoma is a player the Italian is desperate to keep, so the Japanese international is now expected to stay put this summer despite interest from Arsenal.



It is my understanding that Arsenal are still in the race for Moises Caicedo.

Brighton now accepting that the Ecuador international will leave has provided a huge boost to Arsenal’s chances of landing him this summer.

A new central midfielder is a top priority for Arsenal and Caicedo is towards the top of Mikel Arteta’s shopping list.

I understand that Declan Rice remains the first-choice target for Arsenal, but a double swoop for the West Ham captain and Caicedo cannot be ruled out.

The only issue with signing both Rice and Caicedo is that it would burn a large portion of the Gunners’ transfer budget.

Arteta is also wanting to invest at right-back, centre-back and striker this summer, but he will have to sacrifice a few other targets if he decides to sign both Caicedo and Rice in the same window.

The North London side are also expecting to raise funds through a number of sales this window.

Kieran Tierney is inching closer to an exit, with Newcastle United currently leading the race for his signature ahead of Man City and Aston Villa.

Arsenal are also open to offers for centre-back Rob Holding this summer.

The 27-year-old has filled in for William Saliba in recent weeks, but Arteta is eager to revert Ben White to a central role and offload Holding to make space for possible defensive reinforcements.



The Hammers have opened talks with multiple candidates over a director of football role at the London Stadium.

I understand that Mark Noble is set to step down from his current role as sporting director.

The Irons legend has not adapted to his role behind the scenes and will instead take up responsibilities with the club academy to help progress his coaching career.

His vacancy has handed the West Ham board an opportunity to appoint a new director, and Brentford’s Lee Dykes is among their top targets.

Dykes became Brentford’s technical director in 2022 after heading their recruitment team for three years.

His work with the London club has drawn attention from clubs around England with Tottenham also in talks with Dykes over a director role.

The West Ham board have grown frustrated with David Moyes’ lack of success in the transfer market in recent seasons and want a director to take charge of recruitment at the club.

Paul Mitchell – who is departing Monaco this summer – and ex-Liverpool director Michael Edwards are also on West Ham’s shortlist.



I’m told Burnley are set for a busy summer transfer window, with Vincent Kompany pushing the club to make as many as five new signings.

The Clarets boss has been reassured that he’ll be financially backed, and he plans to invest in a new goalkeeper, left-back, centre-back, central midfielder and striker.

Kompany wants to stay loyal to much of the Burnley squad that earned promotion to the Premier League but is aware of the huge jump in quality between the Championship and the top flight.

The first through the door at Turf Moor could be Arsenal midfielder Sambi Lokonga, who has underwhelmed on loan at Crystal Palace.

Kompany is a big admirer of the 23-year-old from their time together at Anderlecht, and he is pushing Burnley to reunite them in Lancashire next season.

Burnley have opened talks with Arsenal over a loan deal, and I understand that an agreement could involve a clause for a permanent fee next summer.

Lokonga is happy to make another loan move provided he is given guarantees over first-team involvement.