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The steep rise of Brighton’s €115m man



Moises Caicedo

Moisés Caicedo has become one of the most sought-after players on the transfer market.

As a team with major midfield problems at the moment, Liverpool could certainly have done without another trip to Brighton – the 2-1 defeat on Sunday and the resulting loss in the 4th round of the FA Cup should have confirmed their fears.

After the Reds suffered a bitter defeat in Brighton two weeks ago, coach Jürgen Klopp spoke of the worst game of his 22-year coaching career.

“A real horror show,” said Klopp when he looked back on the 3-0 loss in the Premier League at the press conference before the cup game on Friday. His team reacted to this defeat with significantly better defensive performances and two well-deserved victories, but they now have to shelve their dream of winning the FA Cup.

For a side lacking in confidence, cohesion, structure and balance, Brighton are the worst opponents imaginable. Ahead of Liverpool in the table, Roberto De Zerbi’s side are very good goalscorers (19 goals in their last six games) and consistently play with the kind of organisation, balance and energy that have long been the Reds’ hallmarks.

Moisés Caicedo begged for release on social media

It was Brighton’s full-backs, the underrated Solly March and the dynamic Kaoru Mitoma who caused a stir in the two sides’ clash earlier this month, but much of Brighton’s success this season has come from the performances of the central midfield duo, which includes Alexis Mac Allister and Moisés Caicedo have developed into one of the Premier League’s strongest couples.

Mac Allister obviously played a key role in Argentina’s success at the World Cup, but it’s Caicedo’s development that stands out most this season, making the Ecuador international one of the hottest transfer candidates in European football.

Chelsea have already made a bid of around €65m for the 21-year-old this month, while reports on Friday also saw Arsenal fall through with a bid of €70m. According to information from SPOX and GOAL, the Seagulls even turned down a 73 million offer plus five million euros in bonus payments on Sunday. If the transfer does not take place on Deadline Day (all developments in the live ticker), Arsenal should consider Jorginho from Chelsea as an alternative.

The player’s value is closer to the equivalent of €115m, according to Brighton – and now the Seagulls have told the player to stay home until the transfer window is over in a few days. No wonder Caicedo had now tried publicly with a statement on social media to force his change.

The transfer fee requested by Brighton is remarkable considering the player cost less than €6m when he joined from Independiente del Valle in January 2021 and has only made 31 appearances for Brighton since then. A year ago he was still on loan at the Belgian club Beerschot – and according to reports he didn’t do too much there.

Moisés Caicedo: “He has no limits”

However, he excelled in the second half of last season – and his performances meant Brighton were able to sell Yves Bissouma to Tottenham, safe in the knowledge that they already had the perfect replacement on board.

And Caicedo filled the resulting gap without any problems. He was the star of Day 1 when the Seagulls celebrated their first ever win at Old Trafford. Since then he has improved game by game, shining under coach Graham Potter, improving under his successor De Zerbi and showing strong performances for Ecuador at the World Cup in Qatar.

“Caicedo could become one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and in Europe, in my opinion,” said De Zerbi. “There are many players who are very good with the ball but not so good off the ball, defensively. Others are great defensively but have problems with the ball,” he added.

“I don’t see anything about Caicedo that isn’t at the top level. And he’s still very young, so he can still learn and improve. He has no limits,” said the Brighton coach.

Gustavo Alfaro, his ex-Ecuador coach, agrees: “He’s a world-class player,” he said. In 2020, Alfaro trusted 18-year-old Caicedo on his senior debut when he put down Lionel Messi in a World Cup qualifier against Argentina. Since then he has become a fixture in the Ecuador national team, capturing 28 caps and scoring three goals.

Where is Moisés Caicedo moving to?

He’s clearly a player who can make it to the very highest level. Liverpool FC are enthusiastic about him; There was internal discussion at Anfield as to why the club didn’t really want him when he left Ecuador two years ago. It looks like Caicedo will have a choice of clubs in the summer when his contract has two years left. Brighton will then try to sell him for big bucks, as the club have done successfully in the past with the likes of Bissouma, Ben White, Leandro Trossard and Marc Cucurella.

Trossard’s recent departure to Arsenal, coupled with the tantalizing prospect of qualifying for international business, means the Seagulls are unwilling to sell Caicedo in January, although that could change after the player’s desire to go – just as Trossard had done. Caicedo has previously voiced his ‘dream’ of playing for Manchester United. The tempting Champions League football at Chelsea (and a reunion with coach Potter) or the prospect of a league medal at Arsenal shouldn’t be underestimated in his desire to move.

For now, however, he remains alongside Mac Allister in the Amex and will continue his unstoppable rise there. Had Caicedo been there on Sunday, Liverpool might have faced even more problems than they already have.