Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has backtracked on comments he made about in-demand duo and Alexis Mac Allister and says it is not a forgone conclusion that they will leave.
The high-flying Seagulls are battling to secure European qualification and picked up a superb result against Arsenal on Sunday, winning 3-0 at the Emirates to dash the Gunners’ title hopes.
Caicedo and Mac Allister – who both impressed at the – have stood out, with the Ecuadorian linked with Arsenal and while the Argentine is rumoured to be on Liverpool’s radar.
Speaking straight after the win over Arsenal, De Zerbi seemed to suggest he was , telling Sky Sports: ‘For sure we will lose some players, maybe Caicedo and Mac Allister.’
But he has now clarified those comments and says it is not certain the duo will leave, though Brighton are bracing themselves for potential summer raids and have plans in place to deal with any exits.
Asked if Brighton fans should accept that they may be seeing the pair play their final games for the club, De Zerbi hit back: ‘No, I didn’t say it like this!
‘I said that it could be the possibility to lose some big players, like Caicedo maybe, Mac Allister, [Kaoru] Mitoma… I don’t know.
‘But we are Brighton and I know the policy of our club – my club – and we have to be ready to bring in other good players with the right characteristics, the right condition of our club.’
One such player might be Mahmoud Dahoud, whose Borussia Dortmund contract expires this summer and is rumoured to be close to joining Brighton on a free transfer.
De Zerbi stopped short of confirming any deal, but he certainly intimated that negotiations were progressing: ‘I know very well Dahoud but it is not official. At the moment, it is not official yet and we will speak about him later in the next press conference.’
When it was suggested that the deal sounds very close, the Italian coach added: ‘Yes because we have no secrets. I like him and I would like to work with him.
‘You can see him on Wyscout and YouTube! Whatever you want. But he’s not my player yet and I have to speak only [about players at the club].’
Brighton are next in action on Thursday night at St James’ Park against Newcastle United, who are trying to wrap up a Champions League place themselves.
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