Moises Caicedo not in Brighton team for friendly

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber expects Moises Caicedo to start the club's first game of the season against Luton Town on Saturday

(Football news) Chelsea have had several bids for Caicedo rejected this summer, but they remain confident of completing a deal to bring the 21-year-old Ecuador international to Stamford Bridge.

Brighton turned down an enhanced £80 million approach from Chelsea last month, valuing Caicedo at £100 million. Mauricio Pochettino wants to bolster his midfield before Chelsea’s match against Liverpool on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Caicedo was left out of Brighton’s pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano yesterday, raising speculation that a move to Chelsea was imminent. Caicedo was not involved due to a tight hamstring, according to Brighton, and club chief executive Barber said: “We’re looking forward to Moises starting the season with us, he’s a Brighton player under a long-term contract.”

“He’s probably one of the most exciting young midfield players in the world at the moment and we’re delighted to have him.”

Over the weekend, Chelsea finalised the £25 million signing of custodian Robert Sanchez from Brighton.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are hopeful that Christopher Nkunku avoided a serious knee injury in their final pre-season friendly against Borussia Dortmund last week in Chicago. The £52 million summer addition is anticipated to miss the first game of the season against Liverpool, although just for a few weeks rather than months.

After his strong pre-season play, Chelsea have given Ian Maatsen a new contract, and Pochettino has told the 21-year-old that he wants to keep him in his squad this season.

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