Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi says he can understand why Moises Caicedo wants to join Arsenal.
The Ecuador midfielder was left out of Sunday’s 2-1 win against Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the Amex Stadium amid transfer interest from Arsenal.
Their £60million bid has been firmly rebuffed by Brighton, who insist Caicedo isn’t for sale before the summer. He has been told to stay away from training until the window shuts on Tuesday night.
Asked if Brighton should sell Caicedo rather than having an unhappy player, De Zerbi said: “It’s already difficult for me to be a coach. To be a coach and chairman would be very difficult.
“Caicedo is a very good guy. I can understand him, because when you are 21 and you receive a request from a big team playing in European competition, I can understand.
“I would like him to finish the season with us, but we’re ready to go forward without him. We need some players in some positions.
“I’ve spoken lots of times with Tony (owner-chairman Tony Bloom). He knows very well my opinion, because we are a good team but we can improve also from the transfer window.
“We lost Trossard (to Arsenal). If we lose also Caicedo, it can be a problem for us if we want to fight for Europe and the best position in the table.
“If we want to stay like this, we can stay but I don’t like (it).”
De Zerbi said he was “surprised” by Caicedo confirming on social media on Friday evening that he wants to leave, but indicated that he had been influenced by his representatives.
Brighton’s 18-year-old striker Evan Ferguson left the Amex on crutches after a raking tackle on the back of the Achilles by substitute Fabinho in the closing stages which earned the Liverpool midfielder a yellow card.
Ferguson’s replacement, Denis Undav, wants to stay despite the German striker attracting loan interest from clubs at home and abroad.
“Deniz is another fantastic guy,” De Zerbi said. “I’ve spoken a lot in the last period with him and he’s told me he’d like to stay with us. I think he stays until the end of the season.”
Goals by captain Lewis Dunk and Kaoru Mitoma’s superbly taken winner in injury time gave Brighton their second home win over Liverpool in the space of 15 days after beating them 3-0 in the Premier League.
(Photo: Getty Images)
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