Chelsea have seen an offer worth £70million ($91.7m) for Moises Caicedo turned down by Brighton & Hove Albion.
The bid — which did not include add-ons — was made in writing on Monday and dismissed, but Chelsea’s pursuit continues. They previously saw a £60m proposal for the midfielder rejected in early June.
Caicedo has flown directly to the U.S. from Ecuador for Brighton’s pre-season tour.
The south-coast club are prepared for the possibility of losing Caicedo, providing that their asking price is met.
The Athletic reported last month that Brighton were seeking £100m for Caicedo, especially given he signed a new contract in March. Brighton previously rebuffed approaches from Chelsea and Arsenal in January.
Chelsea are now Caicedo’s main suitor and the 21-year-old remains eager to move to the west London side, having been given assurances over a transfer after the January interest.
The situation is complicated by Brighton’s desire to sign Chelsea defender Levi Colwill, for whom they have already seen a £30m bid knocked back.
Colwill had a successful loan spell at Brighton last season but Chelsea intend for him to be a part of Mauricio Pochettino’s first-team squad for the upcoming campaign, especially given injuries to Benoit Badiashile and Wesley Fofana.
Brighton, though, remain keen on the England Under-21 international and believe he is open to returning to the Amex Stadium, having helped Roberto De Zerbi’s men finish above Chelsea and qualify for the Europa League.
Brighton have already lost fellow midfielder Alexis Mac Allister this summer, with the World Cup winner joining Liverpool. They have already moved to strengthen that depart, though, with the signings of James Milner and Mahmoud Dahoud on free transfers.
Caicedo made 37 Premier League appearances last season, predominantly featuring as a defensive midfielder.
The Ecuador international joined Brighton from Independiente del Valle — the same club Chelsea have signed Kendry Paez from — in 2021. Caicedo spent the first half of the 2021-22 season on loan in Belgium with Beerschot, before returning to Brighton in January.