Arsenal suffer transfer blow with club set to double 'extraordinary' player's wages
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Brighton have opened contract talks with Kaoru Mitoma to fend off interest from Arsenal, it has been claimed.
Mitoma, 25, has been one of the breakout stars of the season, impressing with his energetic displays on the wing for Brighton.
The Japan international has scored nine goals and provided six assists in 27 games for the Seagulls, who he joined on a four-year deal from Kawasaki Frontale in 2021.
Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City are among a group of Premier League clubs that have been linked with a summer move for Mitoma.
But Brighton are keen to keep the winger at the Amex Stadium.
According to Football Insider, Brighton have opened contract talks with Mitoma and are prepared to double his wages to keep him at the club.
He is believed to earn around £20,000 per week at Brighton, who are set to offer him new terms of around £40,000 per week to sign a new long-term deal on the south coast.
Barber: Mitoma will be in the spotlight
Brighton chief Paul Barber admits he expects there to be interest in Mitoma when the transfer window opens.
"He's another player that no doubt is going to be in the spotlight again come the next transfer window, but we're ready for that and we understand that,” Barber told The Beautiful Game Podcast.
"We just hope he can have another second half to the season in the way that he has started it."
Arsenal have recently signed Ben White and Leandro Trossard from Brighton, while the Gunners were also in the market for Moises Caicedo in January.
The Gunners reportedly had a bid of around £70m rejected for the Ecuadorian, who has since signed a new deal with Brighton.
Lifting the lid on the winter transfer saga, which also saw Caicedo linked with Liverpool and Chelsea, Barber says Brighton never considered selling the midfielder.
“For us in January selling Moises wasn’t a good move because he’s one of our best players in the first half of the season and secondly we were in a great position in the league, we were still in the FA Cup, we still had a lot of football to play and we want to achieve our best ever finish in the Premier League,” said Barber.
“The stakes for us in the second half of the season were higher than ever and Moises is a big part of that.”
He added: “When we sat down with him and talked about that and once all the heat of the window had gone out and we were able to agree a new contract with him, settle him back down and as you have seen in the last few games he’s beginning to get back to that level he was at in the first half (of the season).
"His chance will come in the future to be whatever he wants to be and we are all very confident that will happen for him."
When asked if Arsenal had indeed submitted a £70m bid, Barber added: "Only if they wanted half the player!
"I mean, joking aide, we never provide the numbers. It always amuses us when we see numbers in the media, because they've not come from us."
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Topics: Football, Premier League, Arsenal, Brighton And Hove Albion, Transfers