After a bustling week in the transfer market, Chelsea has shifted its focus from offloading unwanted players to making significant acquisitions. Among their targets, the club has set their sights on Moises Caicedo, marking their pursuit of a third major signing.
Chelsea has undergone a major squad overhaul ahead of the upcoming season. Several key players who were part of the Champions League-winning team in Porto, including N’Golo Kanté, Édouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech, Mateo Kovacic, Kai Havertz, and Mason Mount, have departed the club. Additionally, last summer’s marquee signing, Kalidou Koulibaly, has also left. There is also uncertainty surrounding the futures of players such as Trevoh Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic, and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The club has a strong lineup in both defense and offense. Moreover, recent reports indicate that Chelsea has no plans to sign another goalkeeper, as Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to retain the No.1 position. However, there is a pressing need to revamp the midfield. This is where Moises Caicedo comes into the picture. The Ecuador International is currently one of the most sought-after players in world football, attracting interest from numerous European clubs. Chelsea seems poised to secure his services despite Brighton & Hove Albion demanding a significant transfer fee. Negotiations are scheduled to commence this week, with personal terms not anticipated to pose any issues.
Chelsea will make a big push for Moises Caicedo, who is keen on the move.
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) June 24, 2023
Brighton is reportedly seeking a fee of over £100m for Moises Caicedo. However, the prevailing consensus suggests that the final transfer fee will likely fall within the range of £70m to £80m. This is still a great business for the Seagulls who had purchased the young midfielder just 18 months ago from Independiente del Valle for a small fee of £4.5m.
After a fantastic year for Brighton last year where he helped the club achieve European football for the first time in their history, Caicedo made it clear six months ago that he was ready for the step up to an elite club when Arsenal came calling for his services in January. The club resisted any potential moves at that time but now they understand that it would be tough to keep Caicedo in Brighton.
So we will look at why Chelsea should break the bank for Moises Caicedo,
They need an N’Golo Kante who is not injured
N’Golo Kante has arguably been one of the best signings for Chelsea ever. After a dismal season where Chelsea finished tenth, the club pulled off one of the best deals bringing in Kante, who had just been the heartbeat of a Leicester City side that achieved the unthinkable. Kante’s immediate impact helped guide Chelsea to an unexpected Premier League victory. Subsequently, the team went on to win the FA Cup, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup, with N’Golo playing a vital role in this highly successful club.
But when there is a combative midfielder like Kante who needs to dig and do the hard yards it takes a toll on the player’s body. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, the former Caen midfielder has played 22, 30 and 26 matches before last year where he played just 7 games in the league. His absence was quietly glaring there for everyone to see as opposition sides ripped apart this side and the team finished with 44 points in the 12th place, their finish in the Premier League since 1987/88 in terms of points tally.
In stark contrast, Caicedo’s presence in that Brighton team was transformative, going from lower league team to mid-table to finally achieving a European finish with him. Also, the Ecuadorian has been a near ever-present for Brighton since making his breakthrough for the Seagulls, with a muscle tear way back in 2020 the most serious injury of his career to date.
An exciting South American duo of Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo
Fair to say Chelsea potentially are going to have a lot of South Americans in their ranks with new coach Mauricio Pochettino and Enzo Fernandez both hailing from Argentina and Moises in their ranks, it will be exciting to see how things will go about.
Frank Lampard revealed late in the season that Enzo Fernandez is finding it a bit difficult to grasp the English language, “He doesn’t speak the language much at all, but he’s learning fast.” Caicedo has also been revealed to rely on his Spanish-speaking teammates to understand some instructions from the coaches. “I’m getting to understand it [English], learning new words, new phrases all the time, but it’s been so important to have the Spanish-speaking guys here to help me. My English will only get better. I also watch as much English TV as I can, as that is helping,”
Now with an Argentine manager in the dugout, messages will be easier to understand for both of these players to understand and a midfield duo of Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo would be an amazing prospect for even a neutral fan to see. Signing Caicedo will allow Enzo to move forward and unleash his true potential. The record signing has made an easy transition from Portugal to England but there has been too much pressure and responsibility put on his shoulders with most of his teammates going through bad patches of form and injury issues. The primary example of these issues being exemplified by Karim Adeyemi’s goal vs Chelsea,
Karim Adeyemi’s goal yesterday vs Chelsea was sick, he knows speed and talent 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/uXbjfTmR5k
— ameena 🇲🇦 (@Canuckgirl20) February 17, 2023
While Enzo was regaining the ball and cutting the lines of passing on most of the occasions, an Kante-less midfield was seeing him go up against players with great speeds in a one-on-one duel and more often than not it is the attackers that win these kinds of duels.
Early indications have suggested that Enzo Fernandez is going to be pushed further from the positions he was taking last season with Fernandez’s father, Raul, revealing, “Enzo is comfortable, happy, and adjusting to London,” he said. “He was happy about the arrival of Pochettino. Next season? My son wants to be a champion. I think [we will see Enzo play further forward]. He was going to ask [Pochettino] to play further forward.”
No need for a test drive, the car is ready to deliver!
When players are signed from different leagues by English clubs, there is always a question mark in the back of the heads of fans whether a player can adapt to the pace and physicality of this league. Some of the great signings of Premier League history have typically struggled in their first season, but that will apply to someone like Moises Caicedo.
Caicedo initially played half a year for Brighton’s sister club Beerschot in Belgium. But when he made the step up to the best league in the world, it felt quite seamless. Last year he ranked in the top five of Premier League midfielders (minimum 900 minutes) for both passes completed and tackles won. His passing accuracy was second only to Manchester City star Rodri among midfielders, and he was in the top 10 for interceptions, ball recoveries, duel success and passes into the final third.
His club manager Roberto De Zerbi said this about his young midfielder, “There are many players who are very good with the ball but without it, in defensive spaces, are not so good. Others in the defensive space are top but with the ball there are some problems. With Caicedo, I don’t see anything not at the top level.”
If and when Chelsea signs Caicedo, the club will have locked their midfielder starting berths for at least 5 to 7 years. Additionally, he will find it easy to connect with most of the players as most of the players bought by these new owners have mainly focused on the strategy of targeting players aged 25 or under. Caicedo will continue to progress under a manager like Mauricio Pochettino who at rivals Tottenham garnered the reputation of a coach who develops young players and improves those who have previously underwhelmed.
After a difficult first year as the stewards of Chelsea Football Club, Todd Boehly and co. will want to make the decisions which help back to the ways of winning trophies and competing for the biggest trophies inside and outside the continent. The urge to get better and the want to progress quickly has surely aroused the interests of Moises who was being looked at by clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.
The price tag would be an enormous one but that is what will be left to Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart to work the magic and lure players to the club. Even at £75m this looks like great value for money and it will be considered a big miracle to reject teams with European football. This is just what might be needed for this club and it will be a real coup – and the kind of signing that could propel the club back into the upper echelons of the English top flight.