Arsenal and Liverpool dealt major transfer blow as Kaoru Mitoma snubs temptation

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Several Premier League sides may be forced to rethink their future transfer plans after learning that Kaoru Mitoma signed a long-term contract extension with Brighton on Friday. Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool have all been linked with the winger and were expected to make a move for the forward in the next 12 months.

Mitoma has impressed since joining the Seagulls, hitting the ground running after a loan spell at Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium. The winger has scored 13 goals in 52 appearances for Roberto De Zerbi’s side, though those figures significantly undersell his influence on the south coast.

The Japan international’s dribbling ability and burst of pace has made him an unstoppable force for Brighton and consequently has captured the attention of top clubs around Europe. Barcelona are the latest side to register an interest in the 26-year-old, with numerous Premier League clubs also among his admirers.

However, they will be forced to splash the cash if they are to sign Mitoma after he signed a contract extension with the Seagulls earlier this week. The ex-Kawasaki Frontale star penned a new deal that will see him remain at the Amex Stadium until 2027, which will have a significant impact on his valuation.

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Reports circulated earlier this season that City were likely to push for Mitoma at the end of the season, though they may turn their attention to alternative targets. Pep Guardiola was cited as the driving force behind the pursuit, with the ex-Barcelona boss openly praising the transfer target previously.

Guardiola said: “I would say the impact of Mitoma on the Premier League has been incredible. He is in the right place with the right manager and his last season was extraordinary, and look at what Japan have done in the World Cup.”

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Signing Mitoma would not be ruled out in the future by Brighton given their willingness to facilitate major transfers if their internal valuations are met, with Alexis Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo and Robert Sanchez leaving this summer. Arsenal have learned first-hand about the Seagulls’ strong negotiating tactics and how they will remain true to their word, regardless of external noise surrounding transfers.

The Gunners – who are also interested in Mitoma – pushed to sign Caicedo in the winter transfer window last season to aid their title push but saw their offers rejected as De Zerbi and Brighton owner Tony Bloom ruled that the Ecuador international was irreplaceable at such short notice. The midfielder then helped the club achieve its goal of securing European football before being granted a £115million move to Chelsea this summer.

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