Roberto De Zerbi makes brutal Brighton assessment after Moises Caicedo's Chelsea transfer


Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi has claimed that his side are not 'ready' to fill the void left by Moises Caicedo's move to Chelsea over the summer transfer window. The Ecuadorian international arrived at Stamford Bridge in August for a British record-breaking £115million fee.

In what was a lengthy process, the Blues spent many months trying to negotiate with the Seagulls for the 21-year-old's services, with a deal finally going through for an eight-year contract. The star has settled into Chelsea's midfield well despite a shaky debut cameo against West Ham, playing alongside Enzo Fernandez and Conor Gallagher for most of his early minutes in a Blues shirt.

But De Zerbi's side appear to be reeling from the transfer, winning just one of their last four in all competitions including a 1-0 loss to Chelsea and Caicedo in the Carabao Cup in midweek. They were also demolished by Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins, who put up a hat-trick and two assists in their 6-1 win over Brighton over the weekend.

While De Zerbi continues to experiment with his midfield in order to regain the lost physicality and dynamic play style Caicedo offers, it looks like the partnership of former Blue Billy Gilmour and youngster Jack Hinshelwood won't be the answer. Of course, for such a hefty sum, Brighton were sure to add players to try and 'recreate' Caicedo.

James Milner, Mo Dahoud, and Carlos Baleba were all bought in late on over the summer in order to try and counter losing the 21-year-old, but with Milner injured, Dahoud on the bench against Villa, and Baleba not included in the squad whatsoever, it looks like it might take longer than De Zerbi wants.

Following their heavy loss to Villa, the Seagulls boss was brutally honest when he claimed that some the stars in his side don't have the physical capabilities for what they need.

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"We are conceding lots but listen, we have to speak honestly," he said in his post-match press conference. "We lost Caicedo, we lost very important characteristics.

"We are playing in a different way because only Baleba can play with the same characteristics as Caicedo. Baleba is not ready yet. We are not ready to compete and to play every three days.

"The physical energy is not enough, in football you have to be ready to give your all and your best in the head in the mentality. We can’t lose every tackle, every duel and every second ball otherwise you lose the game in this way.

"But I believe in my players because I have big confidence in the people inside of my dressing room, we are suffering a lot for this defeat but this can happen sometimes if you are not ready and you have to adapt quickly.

"We have to learn. We are suffering, it’s a very bad day but maybe one of the most important days – we want to reach this level."

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