Roberto De Zerbi has urged Moises Caicedo to stay at Brighton and Hove Albion amid reports of a £60 million ($74 million) bid for the Ecuador midfielder from Arsenal.
The Premier League leader is keen to sign Caicedo to bolster its midfield options after Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny suffered an injury that could sideline him for several weeks.
Brighton boss De Zerbi is determined to keep the 21-year-old at least until the end of the season, but Arsenal is believed to be pondering an improved bid.
Caicedo is also a reported target for Chelsea, however De Zerbi insists the player’s best interests lie in staying with Brighton.
“He’s a good guy. He’s focused only on Brighton. I hope he can stay with us until the end of the season because in my opinion, it’s the best solution for him, for us,” De Zerbi told reporters on Friday.
“I spoke with him Wednesday and I told him my opinion. I think it’s always difficult to change during a season. For our way, it’s important for him to stay another four months with us.”
Brighton has already sold Belgium forward Leandro Trossard to Arsenal for £27 million during the current January transfer window.
Caicedo is under contract with Brighton until 2025 and De Zerbi claimed he had given the youngster a fatherly chat about his future.
“He is relaxed. He’s a good guy. I spoke with him like a father, not like a coach. Because I understand when one player has the possibility to change team and go to a very big team,” he said.
“I understand. My work is to give the style of play, but to give also advice for his career, his life.”