Arsenal have agreed terms on £75m record signing – and it's NOT Declan Rice: report

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds their fans after the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Arsenal FC at Craven Cottage on March 12, 2023 in London, England
(Image credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Arsenal are ready to splash £75 million on a record signing this summer – before they've agreed a deal for priority target Declan Rice.

The Gunners' current record signing is Nicolas Pepe, who spent last season on loan in Ligue 1 with Nice. The Ivorian set the club back £72m in the summer of 2019 when he arrived from Lille – but his signature was the start of a sea change of how Arsenal did business.

Since taking over at the Emirates Stadium, Mikel Arteta hasn't come close the breaking that record, spending £50m on Ben White as his most expensive buy. Intriguingly, he may now break that record with a very similar transfer.

Ben White applauds the Arsenal fans after the UEFA Europa League group A match between PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal FC at Phillips Stadium on October 27, 2022 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Ben White is currently Arteta's record signing (Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Football Transfers claims that Arsenal have already struck personal terms for Moises Caicedo – also of Brighton & Hove Albion, who Arteta signed White from – with the Seagulls confident about agreeing a £75m fee. 

The north Londoners have previously low-balled sellers in the past, refusing to pay the asking price for stars such as Mykhaylo Mudryk, Raphinha and Houssem Aouar. Arsenal even chased Caicedo in January and didn't want to pay the reportedly astronomical fee that Brighton wanted for a midseason deal. 

Though Arsenal are chasing Declan Rice as their priority target, The Times have confirmed that the club want both Rice and Caicedo – and in many ways, the move for the Ecuadorian is a much more straightforward one to conduct.

Caicedo apparently agreed terms in January and with Chelsea and Liverpool rivalling Arsenal for the 21-year-old's signature, the Gunners are the only one of the three able to currently offer Champions League football. There is a resignation from Brighton outfit that both Caicedo and team-mate Alexis Mac Allister will likely leave, while West Ham United seem a little more reluctant to accept that Rice could depart.

Alexis Mac Allister of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates with teammate Moises Caicedo after the team's victory during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United at American Express Community Stadium on May 04, 2023 in Brighton, England.

Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo of Brighton & Hove Albion could both leave in the coming weeks (Image credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Seagulls manager Roberto De Zerbi has even confirmed that both players could have played their final games for the Sussex outfit, recently claiming, “I’m really sorry if we lose [Mac Allister and] Moises Caicedo, but players like this deserve to play at another level, another level in terms of competition, in terms of importance of the club, prestige of the club."

Caicedo is valued at €55m by Transfermarkt

More Arsenal stories

Arsenal are ready for a huge summer, with their wage structure set to loosen in the advent of reaching the Champions League once more. Declan Rice remains the priority target.

Five first-teamers are expected, with RB Leipzig defender Mohamed SimakinReal Madrid star Ferland Mendyformer academy graduate Yunus Musah and two more Manchester City stars all rumoured. Marc Guehi of Crystal PalaceAurelien Tchouameni of Real Madrid and N'Golo Kante of Chelsea have all been linked.

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