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Arsenal plan was to partner Chelsea star with Declan Rice in midfield

Journalist Charles Watts has revealed what Arsenal were planning to do in the midfield if they succeeded in signing Chelsea star

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Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice
Image credit: Getty Images

The Arsenal midfield has been a subject of keen interest and speculation, with recent revelations shedding light on the club’s ambitious plans for bolstering their ranks. In a bid to enhance their midfield prowess in 2023, Arsenal had set their sights on a formidable duo, as reported by journalist Charles Watts. 

The Gunners, renowned for their astute recruitment under the stewardship of Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar, were poised to make significant moves to elevate their midfield dynamics.

Prior to the acquisition of Declan Rice, Arsenal had a grand vision that unfortunately didn’t come to fruition. Their pursuit included targeting Moises Caicedo, then plying his trade at Brighton and Hove Albion. Despite fervent efforts and multiple bids, the Seagulls stood firm, thwarting Arsenal’s attempts to secure the services of the touted midfielder.

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However, the plot thickens with revelations from Watts, indicating that Rice’s arrival wasn’t intended as a sole alternative to Caicedo. Rather, Arteta had envisaged a scenario where both midfield maestros would don the Arsenal colours, orchestrating the team’s play from the centre of the pitch.

Arsenal - Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo

Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo (Image credit: Getty Images)

Watts told CaughtOffside: “Caicedo was a player they really wanted and were willing to pay big money for. But they weren’t going to pay what Brighton were asking for so they walked away after seeing multiple bids rejected in January 2023.


“Obviously, they then went and signed Declan Rice the following summer, but as far as I’m aware they still would have gone for the West Ham captain even if they had managed to get Caicedo in the summer. The plan was always to try and get both of them, not one.”

While Arsenal’s pursuit of Caicedo hit an impasse, Chelsea swooped in to secure his signature for a British record fee of £115 million. Nonetheless, the Gunners remained undeterred, ultimately securing Rice’s services in the subsequent summer transfer window.

Reflecting on what could have been, speculation arises on how Caicedo might have fared in Arsenal’s setup. Despite experiencing a challenging stint at Chelsea, there’s conjecture that the Ecuadorian midfielder could have thrived in the more settled environment at Arsenal. With Arteta’s adept management and a squad boasting considerable quality, Caicedo’s potential for stellar performances loomed large.

While the what-ifs linger, it’s undeniable that Arsenal’s midfield plans offer intriguing insights into their aspirations and strategic manoeuvres in the ever-evolving landscape of football transfers.

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