De Zerbi’s Colwill admission offers Chelsea leg up in bid to beat Liverpool, Arsenal to £141m duo

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Liverpool target Mac Allister Credit: Alamy
Liverpool target Mac Allister Credit: Alamy

Roberto De Zerbi says it would be “difficult” to find another centre-back with the “quality” of Levi Colwill and wants to work with him next season and beyond, offering Chelsea a chance at beating their rivals to targets at Brighton.

Colwill has spent this season on loan at Brighton from Chelsea, initially watching mainly from the sidelines under Graham Potter, but has forced his way into the reckoning under De Zerbi, starting the majority of games he’s been available for in the second half of the season.

And in his press conference on Friday, the Italian boss confirmed he would love to continue working with the 20-year-old, who’s set to return to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

When asked about Colwill’s long-term future at Brighton, De Zerbi said on Friday: “I would like to work with him for another two, three, four years.

“It’s difficult to find a another centre-back, left centre-back, with his quality.

“He’s a good guy, I think he’s improving a lot. This year his improvement has been fantastic.

“I hope he can stay with us.”

Reports suggest Colwill is part of Chelsea’s plans next season, with one publication claiming the defender is one of five players Mauricio Pochettino wants to ‘build around’ next season.

But De Zerbi’s comments will be tempting Chelsea into a swap deal, with Todd Boehly’s transfer finger pointing in the direction of more than one of Brighton’s stars this season.

Alexis Mac Allister will be leaving the club in the summer, as confirmed by multiple reports, with the Seagulls ready to accept offers over 70m (£61m).

Liverpool are said to be in talks with Mac Allister’s representatives over a move to Anfield and have a genius negotiating tactic to get the deal over the line.

But Chelsea have also reportedly sounded Mac Allister out over a move for the World Cup winner, as they have also done with Moises Caicedo, who would be available for £80m and remains high on Arsenal’s list of targets after they missed out on him in January.

Colwill could be used in a swap deal for either Mac Allister and Caicedo, and Boehly is thought to retain a good relationship with Brighton after Marc Cucurella and Potter’s moves to Stamford Bridge.

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