When English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion signed an Ecuadorian midfielder from Independiente del Valle for just £4.5 million ($5.7 million), unsurprisingly there was little fanfare surrounding the transfer.
Fast forward two years and the teenage midfielder with just a handful of professional appearances to his name has now become a record-breaking transfer.
Moisés Caicedo has been sought after by some of the world’s biggest soccer clubs and it is Premier League side Chelsea who has pried the Ecuadorian away from Brighton.
Multiple outlets including Sky Sports and the BBC report that it’s a British record fee of £115 million ($146 million) that Chelsea and Brighton have agreed upon.
The midfielder has signed for Chelsea on an eight-year contract.
“I am so happy to join Chelsea! I am so excited to be here at this big club and I didn’t have to think twice when Chelsea called me. I just knew I wanted to sign for the club,” the Ecuadorian said in a statement. “It’s a dream come true to be here and I can’t wait to get started with the team.”
As the transfer fee may suggest, the record-breaking move didn’t come without its fair share of complications.
Premier League giant Liverpool believed that it would be the team securing the signing of Caicedo after having a £111 million ($141 million) bid for the midfielder accepted just days ago.
This even saw the usually coy Liverpool head coach, Jürgen Klopp, speak out on the potential signing.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Klopp said: “I got told I can confirm a deal with [Brighton] is agreed.”
In the 2023 January transfer window, Caicedo was also heavily linked with a move to Chelsea, as well as a move to the Blues’ London rival, Arsenal.
Upon interest from the Gunners, Caicedo issued a plea on Instagram to Brighton chairman Tony Bloom asking for a move to be pushed through.
Caicedo’s statement read: “I am grateful to Mr. Bloom and Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best for them.
“I always play football with a smile and with heart. I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador.
“My dream is always to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador.
“I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to be successful.”
While the winter move never materialized, Brighton has now negotiated an even more substantial fee for Caicedo.
The 21-year-old will star in Chelsea’s midfield alongside former record British transfer, Argentinian midfielder Enzo Fernández.
Fernández signed for Chelsea in January 2023 for £107 million ($132 million) and, while incredibly expensive, Chelsea’s new midfield partnership represents both the present and the future of a new-look Blues squad which looks to come back from its 12th place finish in last season’s Premier League.
Chelsea shared a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in its first Premier League game of the season and now takes on West Ham United in its next game on Sunday where fans could be treated to the sight of Caicedo making his debut.