Chelsea’s attempts to acquire Moises Caicedo from Brighton have gotten increasingly frustrating
On social media, that price tag has sparked considerable fury among Chelsea supporters who feel as though their club is being held to ransom. Given that Brighton made repeated bids to Chelsea for Levi Colwill, there is some irony in that, but let’s disregard it for the time being.
Caicedo, a 21-year-old midfielder, is one of the finest in the Premier League after being directly acquired by Brighton from Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle. While supposedly bigger clubs sat on their hands and paid the $5 million sum that other teams weren’t willing to, Brighton took a gamble on him. He joined the team in February 2021, and Brighton made the decision to be careful with his development. Before being brought back, he spent half a season on loan at Beerschot due to a number of injuries that left Brighton lacking in the midfield.
During the second half of the 21/22 season, he played a total of little under 800 minutes in 10 appearances across all competitions. Despite the modest sample size, it was clear that Brighton was working with something quite remarkable. He claimed a starting position on the squad this past season, replacing Yves Bissouma, who had gone to join Spurs. It was evident from the first game of the season that Caicedo wasn’t your typical midfield. He had a strong sense of the game and a high level of game intelligence, making him a one-man wrecking crew.
His defensive skills are frequently emphasised, and deservedly so. Caicedo has the potential to be a defensive midfielder of the highest calibre, whether he plays alone or with another pivot. For someone so young, his positional sense, timing, spatial awareness, and game reading are impressive. He also exhibits a Kante-like ability to track runners and just take the ball away from opponents whenever he wants. But it would be incorrect to label him as nothing more than a destroyer. He is an excellent passer and at ease with the ball. More significantly, he plays with a forward-thinking attitude and makes wise selections when in possession. More than anything else, these characteristics set him apart from the crowd.
Caicedo is still young enough and good enough to develop into a holding midfielder or an all-purpose box-to-box midfielder. Even last season, he filled in at right-back for a few games and looked like he had been there for years. Nothing fazes him, and he adapts to circumstances while maintaining a high level of performance, which is another characteristic that sets him apart. Brighton will have fixed their price after considering recent midfield deals, such Chelsea’s for Enzo Fernandez. Even though Enzo had just won the World Cup, Caicedo had already played in the Premier League for 18 months, whereas Enzo had none. Caicedo has played in 130 senior matches for club and country, as opposed to 123 for Fernandez since moving to Stamford Bridge.