Brighton star in demand; 21-year-old starred for Ecuador at World Cup in Qatar; midfielder excels at tackling, regaining possession, winning duels, creating chances and keeping cool under pressure
Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly trying to sign Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo – but why is the Ecuador international in demand?
The Blues have spent a Premier League-topping £190m in the January window to date but appear to have more funds to spend as they push to sign Caicedo for a fee in the region of £55m before the Tuesday deadline.
Meanwhile, the Gunners have submitted a £60m bid for the 21-year-old and negotiations over the player’s future are under way, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
The Ecuador international has two-and-a-half years left on his deal at Brighton, who are thought to want £100m.
So, what does he offer the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal?
The radar graphic below compares Caicedo with all central midfielders in Europe’s top leagues this season and reveals his primary strengths include general distribution, creating chances and winning duels.
Caicedo also provides box-to-box qualities from a typical No 6 role, patrolling the left-of-centre in defensive and opposition halves in almost equal measure.
He has attempted only two shots from inside the box in the Premier League this term and is far more inclined to strike from outside the area – hitting the target three times from 10 long-range attempts.
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In terms of creating chances, Caicedo frequently penetrates opposition lines with threaded passes in central areas but has also found team-mates from wide areas.
The graphic below highlights how Caicedo’s passes are primarily made down the central and left-hand thirds and underlines his box-to-box influence, while the passing direction radar reveals an impressive accuracy and progressive vision – with barely any passes angled back towards his own goal.
He is also cool under pressure, with only two team-mates recording a better ball-retention rate when being hunted down by opposition players, and is also the key component in Brighton’s transition phases, according to Second Spectrum data.
At just 21, Caceido also offers a long-term solution and investment and would drop the Gunners’ league-low average age even lower. But he has experience, too – collecting 28 senior caps for his nation and impressing at the World Cup in Qatar.
Some may baulk at the proposed fee, but Caicedo provides serious midfield mettle and scope for development, while his remaining deal at the AMEX, a soaring transfer market and growing competition for transfer targets nudges prices ever higher.
Clubs face a ‘steep task’ to prise Caicedo away from Brighton
The Athletic football correspondent David Ornstein on Back Pages Tonight on Sky Sports News:
“Caicedo is a player Arsenal like, the same as Chelsea.
“We’ve seen that Chelsea had a £55m bid rejected last week. There has been reported interest from Liverpool and others, but Brighton have been steadfast in their view that the player is not going anywhere in this transfer window, and it would take a hell of a lot more than Chelsea’s £55m bid to even tempt them to consider selling him.
“So, if £75m is the area Arsenal are looking to go to that is higher than their rivals. They have money, clearly, given that they went in even higher for Mykhailo Mudryk, who ended up moving from Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea.
“However, I would hazard a guess that Caicedo will stay at Brighton in this particular window. I just don’t see clubs going to the level of expenditure it will take for Brighton to part with him. He’s also under a long-term contract.
“Caicedo has changed agents and that representation will most likely see him edge to a possible move away from the Amex Stadium at some point, whether in January or in the summer. But I think it would be unlikely at this stage that Arsenal would manage to pull it off.
“Although, the Gunners do want to invest or recruit in their midfield, whether it be a permanent or a loan deal given it seems Mohamed Elneny has suffered an injury setback in training. Certainly, in the last days of this window, the midfield area is one to watch.
“There were reports that Brighton want £100m to part with Caicedo, so that’s the steepness of the task at hand for Arsenal.”