MANCHESTER UNITED and Newcastle face a huge penalty if they want to land Brighton star Moises Caicedo.
The Red Devils missed the chance to snap up the Ecuador midfield marauder, 21, two years ago.
And now it will cost them £60-70million if they are to prise Caicedo away from the south coast, where he is a firm favourite.
Both Uniteds wished to buy Caicedo from Ecuadorian outfit Independiente del Valle — but Brighton had already been over to watch him.
Despite phone calls during Covid restrictions, the Reds and Magpies lost out to the Seagulls’ sales pitch as they snapped him up for £3.6m in February 2021.
Sources close to Caicedo say he was persuaded by the way Brighton pushed hardest when he was a relative unknown.
Now Caicedo is wanted by a host of top clubs, who also include Chelsea.
The deal is potentially a big triumph for Brighton, who committed to the player after watching just a handful of games backed by a slick stats department.
Their swoop came after Caicedo made his international debut to make sure he would get a work permit but before rich rivals could step in.
The Seagulls are also signing Argentinian kid Facundo Buonanotte, 17, who joins in a £10m deal next month from Rosario Central.
The south coast side have shown a willingness to sell their prized assets if the price has been right for them in the past.
In 2021, Ben White left for Arsenal in a £50m deal and last summer Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella were sold to Tottenham and Chelsea in big-money deals.
Brighton have started this season well and have managed to overcome the loss of boss Graham Potter who left for Chelsea.
New manager Robert De Zebri has continued the good work from the foundations set by the Englishman, with the club sitting pretty in seventh place in the Premier League.
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