It seems that the brain trusts at West Ham and Brighton see the writing on the wall, and they’re willing to accept that their best players want to move to the next level. I have to admit that I feel ambivalent at best about this because I like to believe that players and fans form a relationship, and the fans especially deserve better treatment than they usually get. Each of these two clubs has experienced something historic, yet the jubilation they feel must be tempered by a feeling of loss. Still, this is the water in which we find ourselves, and one must sink or swim.
We talked just the other day about how West Ham’s owner had already conceded the grim reality that Rice had likely played his last match for the club. Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi has already made similar comments about Mac Allister (who’s joined Liverpool) and Caicedo. After their last match of the season against Aston Villa, De Zerbi said “I think it can be the last game for Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo at Brighton. I am really sorry because they are two great players but the policy of Brighton is like this. It is right that they can leave, to play at higher level.”
Here come those misgivings. I love the idea that Brighton, despite losing numerous key players to bigger clubs [cough] play positive, assertive football and have earned a European spot for the first time in their history. However, under current financial circumstances, as De Zerbi himself admits, the club can’t hold on to its best players and has to sell them. If we’re to exploit this situation, I hope it’s at least to both clubs’ benefit.
David Moyes has previously insisted that Rice wouldn’t be sold for less than £100m. Okay. Fine. The rumour-mill suggests that Brighton won’t sell Caicedo for less than £75m. That puts the two players’ combined price tag at £175m. However, in most negotiations, you get 90% of what you ask. The maths here then suggest that we could get both Rice and Caicedo for something on the order of £157m. While that might sound steep for the signing of two players, that again is the water in which we find ourselves swimming. Gone are the days when a £50m transfer fee was remarkable.
If Edu and Arteta can secure one signing or the other in short order, the knock-on effect could be seismic. It would signal to other players that this club is ambitious and doesn’t waste time; get on the trolley or get left at the station. I don’t think we’ll see any news between this post and the weekend, but I’ve been wrong before.
Keep your wits about you. It could be a long silly season…