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Roberto De Zerbi insists leading Premier League clubs “can’t buy our soul” as Moises Caicedo edges closer to becoming the latest star name to depart Brighton.

Albion have accepted a British record transfer fee in the region of £110million from Liverpool for the Ecuador midfielder, although reports suggest he would prefer to join Chelsea.

The Seagulls, who start the new season at home to newly-promoted Luton on Saturday, have become accustomed to selling key players for hefty fees.

Argentina World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister moved to Anfield earlier this summer, while Arsenal pair Ben White and Leandro Trossard, Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella and Tottenham midfielder Yves Bissouma also left the Amex Stadium in the past two years.

De Zerbi is resigned to losing 21-year-old Caicedo but had a defiant message as he focused on further strengthening his squad going into a campaign which will include Europa League football.

“I’ve already forgotten Moises,” said the Italian. “I’m really proud for the players we have in the squad. We have to complete the squad.

“We want to improve the squad because we lost Mac Allister, we lost (Levi) Colwill (on loan from Chelsea last season), maybe we lose Caicedo.

“We have to be ready because when the players leave it’s because they played well but the credit is for the club, for the players, for us, the coaches.

“The big clubs can buy the players but they can’t buy our soul and our spirit. That’s not on the market and this is more important than the players when they leave.

“The money is not my work, is not my job. I can answer only about the transfer market in general. Moises is leaving and is not important for me now.”