Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea must not be allowed to take Brighton ’s midfield star Moises Caicedo this month.
Because if he does go then the Seagulls will move another step closer to becoming a stepping-stone club rather than a destination club with genuine aspirations each year to claim a European position. That’s the verdict of former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest star turned Mirror Football pundit Stan Collymore.
He said: “The fact Caicedo is a target for Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea this month is another testament to Brighton’s recruitment. But the Seagulls need to hang on to him because, if they are serious about challenging for Europe regularly, then they must become a destination club rather than a stepping stone to bigger things.
“They need only look along the south coast towards Southampton to realise what happens if you consistently sell your best players to bigger clubs and, while Brighton’s production line is great, they don’t want to become like the Saints.
“Southampton over the years have lost Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana and plenty more, and effectively they have been left only with James Ward-Prowse after other clubs picked players off.
“There’s a tipping point whereby players go to a club just to play two seasons and get a move and Brighton need to make sure that doesn’t become them.
“If you’re in the Premier League and you’re cashing cheques of £100m and you are in a great city with a great standard of life, why on earth would you become a stepping-stone club? And once you get that kind of tag, that’s what you become.
“Even with the best recruitment in the country, there is only a finite period you can keep pulling up trees by finding such as Leandro Trossard, Alexis Mac Allister, Caicedo and Kaoru Mitouma, you can’t keep doing it. You need to make yourself a destination club not a stepping stone.”
Caicedo, for whom Chelsea have bid £55million and Arsenal £60m, went public with his desire to quit Brighton for a ‘magnificent opportunity’ this month on Friday when he took to social media.
The 21-year-old said: “I am grateful to Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best. I always play football with a smile and with heart.
“I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to be successful.
“I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador. My dream was always to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador.
“The fans have taken me into their hearts and they will always be in my heart so I hope they can understand why I want to take this magnificent opportunity.”