Brighton are close to tying Kaoru Mitoma down to a new contract to ward off transfer interest from Premier League rivals.
Mitoma has emerged as a key player for Roberto De Zerbi’s side and is currently only contracted until June 2025. The 26-year-old midfielder has contributed 13 goals and 11 assists in 50 appearances for Brighton since joining the club from Kawasaki Frontale for a fee of just £2.7million in 2021.
Brighton are canny operators in the transfer market. Hence, the club are keen to prevent Mitoma from leaving for a low transfer fee. The Japan international is happy where he is and will soon sign a new five-year deal with the Seagulls.
Mitoma already has three goals and three assists in seven games this season. He has further caught the attention of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. United scouted him last season. But know that Brighton will drive a hard bargain if they go to the negotiating table.
Brighton sold Moises Caicedo to Chelsea for a whopping £115m in the summer to add another name to their long list of impressive sales. Liverpool paid £45m for Alexis Mac Allister over the summer, while Arsenal forked out £50m to sign Ben White in July 2021, while the Blues coughed up £60m for Marc Cucurella in August 2022.
The Seagulls have made a habit of selling to Premier League clubs, with other significant fees coming from Robert Sanchez (Chelsea, £25m), Yves Bissouma ( Tottenham, £25m), Leandro Trossard (Arsenal, £27m).
“We know some of our best players are not going to be with us forever. If the right offer comes along – and it has to be the right offer – and they want to go, then they will leave.”
De Zerbi spoke about the importance of Mitoma to his team in March. “Mitoma is a crucial part of the team for us because one-against-one in the last 25 metres, he’s one of the most important players,” he said.
“For him it’s the first year in the Premier League, it’s important for us, but also for him it’s important for him to play another year with us. We don’t have time to speak about the transfer market because we have another three months to play and for us to reach our targets.”