Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo likely to leave Brighton this summer, confirms manager Roberto de Zerbi

Minutes after the conclusion of the most successful season in Brighton’s history, manager Roberto de Zerbi admitted that he expects to lose two of his biggest stars this summer.

Having achieved the historic double of securing European football for the first time in Brighton’s history, as well as a highest ever league finish, De Zerbi might have been expecting a moment to bask in his success.

Instead, as he faced the media for the final time this season, following the season-ending 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday, the Italian was asked about the futures of Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo.

De Zerbi was blunt: “I think that can be the last game of Alexis and Moises, I’m really sorry.”

Argentinian World Cup winner Mac Allister has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool, while 21-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder Caicedo was the subject of reported bids from both Chelsea and Arsenal during the January transfer window.

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The Italian continued, leaving no room for doubt on his perspective: “We are ready. We have to find others big players to play without Alexis and Moises.”

While he was undoubtedly disappointed at the prospect of losing two key players for Brighton’s assault on the Europa League next season, he does not blame the club.

He explained: “The policy of Brighton is like this. I think it’s right they can leave, can change teams and play in a level higher. If you ask me about Caicedo and Mac Allister, I love them and they are two big, big players and can be in a big, big European team. They can play in every competition and are ready to compete for a big team and I hope for them they can play in the best team in the world.”

Effusive in his praise and cognisant of the situation into which he stepped when he agreed to become Brighton boss in September last year, De Zerbi chose to see the likely departure of the star duo as an opportunity.

He explained: “For Brighton we can still improve [without them] and we can bring in other good players with the transfer market.”

Playing the transfer market has been a key part of Brighton’s success since winning promotion to the Premier League in 2017.

Last summer, Marc Cucurella, Yves Bissouma, and Neal Maupay were first-team players sold to Premier League rivals, while Leandro Trossard and Shane Duffy made similar intra-league moves in January. Despite selling over £120M worth of players, Brighton enjoyed a spectacularly successful season.

Next season will bring new challenges for De Zerbi and Brighton, something that the Italian recognises.

He said: “Next year we will be playing in four competitions, the Premier League will be tougher for us for sure and we have to be stronger than this year. At the moment we are not ready to play three games per week, but we are not used to that.

“We will have to work in the transfer market and build a stronger squad with more players. The results we achieved were incredible, but we have the dream to improve these results.”

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