ARSENAL are still hoping to land a last-gasp deal for Moises Caicedo ahead of the transfer deadline.
But whatever happens with the Brighton midfielder will not affect Arsenal’s plans to sign West Ham captain Declan Rice this summer.
The Premier League leaders have been given the green light by owner Stan Kroenke to get the Caicedo deal over the line.
That is even if it means paying a club-record fee.
They have already had two bids rejected by Brighton owner Tony Bloom, who maintains that the 21-year-old Ecuador international is not for sale at any price.
But they are ready to make one last bid to persuade the Seagulls to cash in and are willing to go as high as £75million.
Arsenal’s refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer suggests talks could go to the wire tonight after Caceido submitted an official transfer request at the weekend.
The Gunners noted that Brighton have just signed a potential replacement after agreeing a £5.25m deal for the Swedish Under-21 star Yasin Ayani from AIK Solna.
They also believe Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi is coming around to the idea of selling Caicedo after he said: “I’d like it if he can finish the season with us but we are ready to go forward without him.”
Brighton are sixth in the Premier League and through to the FA Cup fifth round.
Most read in Football
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
Caicedo is seen as a key figure to their hopes of qualifying for Europe for the first time in their history.
He has been told to stay away until the window has closed.
However, De Zerbi is happy to accommodate the player’s return to the team despite the club’s unhappiness with his behaviour.