Carlos Baleba Brighton transfer: What’s the latest?

Carlos Baleba Brighton transfer: What's the latest?

Brighton have been formulating plans to rebuild their midfield following the departures of Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo this summer, and ambitious Albion have made Lille starlet Carlos Baleba one of their primary targets in the final week of the transfer window.

The 19-year-old was a breakout star for Les Dogues last season and made 19 appearances in Ligue 1 including five starts during his rise to prominence.

The Cameroonian anchorman, who has yet to represent his country at international level, fits the kind of under-the-radar profile of signings that Brighton have specialised in over the past five years.

Brighton hoping to strike a deal with Lille

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi admitted last week that Brighton were working on signing a replacement for £115m Chelsea capture Moises Caicedo and the Italian boss revealed that “many midfielders” were on the club’s radar.

However, Carlos Baleba has now emerged as the Seagull’s top target to fill the position and Brighton have already had an opening offer of around €16m (£13.8m) including add-ons for the midfielder knocked back by Lille.

That bid is expected to be the opening salvo however, and further negotiations between the clubs are believed to be taking place.

Lille are thought to value Baleba more in the €30m to €35m range, though Brighton will hope to agree a fee closer to the lower end of that valuation.

Some reports have even suggested that the parties have agreed a fee for the teenager already, though that news is not widespread and further confirmation is needed.

Nottingham Forest had also been heavily linked with a move for Baleba, but it now looks as though Brighton will beat their Premier League counterparts to the punch.

Personal terms aren’t expected to cause much of a muss with Baleba rumoured to have already settled on a contract agreement with Albion. The former Brasseries du Cameroun youngster could even travel to England for his Brighton medical before the weekend.

It’s been a busy summer at Brighton

Brighton have been one of the Premier League’s most active clubs in the transfer market this summer and Carlos Baleba’s arrival would push the number of new recruits brought to the club during the current window up to seven.

Alongside the club-record signing of Joao Pedro from Watford, Brighton have also secured the services of Bart Verbruggen from Anderlecht, Igor from Fiorentina and Adrian Mazilu from FCV Faul.

Mahmoud Dahoud and the vastly experienced James Milner have also arrived on free transfers from Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool respectively.

British transfer record holder Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Robert Sanchez have been Brighton's most notable exits this summer, though Albion also cashed in on Michael Karbownik, Reda Khadra and Aaron Connolly who joined Hertha Berlin, Stade Reims and Hull City respectively.

Despite the high turnover of personnel, Brighton have looked slick and organised in the opening weeks of the new Premier League season, claiming six points from six from tests against Luton and Wolves while hammering home an impressive eight goals along the way.