USA Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
USA Insider EPL

Who Is Moises Caicedo, the Midfielder at the Center of Premier League's Most Dramatic Transfer Saga?

The Ecuadorian midfielder, thanks to a dramatic bidding war between Chelsea and Liverpool, is England’s most expensive transfer. 

By Andrew Woodin
Ollie Watkins pulling on the shorts of Moises Caicedo during a match

Forget Cristiano Ronaldo and even the long-whispered potential of Kylian Mbappé jumping to the English Premier League. While those titans of the pitch fetch a pretty penny wherever they go, a relatively new face has created a bona fide F5 tornado that’s savagely whipping through England’s top flight.

Moises Caicedo, the 21-year-old midfielder, formerly of Brighton & Hove Albion, is at the center of the storm. Here's how his dramatic transfer saga unfolded.

RELATED: What are the Rule Changes for the Premier League in 2023/24?

Who is Moises Caicedo?

Born in 2001 in Santo Domino, Ecuador, Caicedo, nicknamed "Moi," is the youngest of 10 siblings. He thrived at a young age in football, despite growing up playing the game in an area where there was considerable gang activity. The consistent threat of violence wouldn’t deter him from evolving into a superstar in his country, nor would the disheveled pitches he played on whose goals only featured a couple piles of crude stones to mark the posts and no nets, according to the Times.

Though the budding phenom began his youth career as a striker, after joining ESPOLI, a professional Ecuadorian team in the country’s third tier, he made the move to midfielder and never looked back.

Close up image of Moises Caicedo

Is Moises Caicedo really that good?

From an early age, even after rupturing a knee ligament that required him to miss 10 months of play with Ecuadorian Serie A side Independiente del Valle as he recovered from multiple surgeries, Caicedo excelled as a defensively-oriented midfielder, earning high praise when his manager, Yuri Solano, said that his athleticism “set him apart from the rest,” The Athletic reports.   
While his first stint with Brighton & Hove Albion saw him quickly move to Beerschot on loan, his return to Sussex with the Seagulls for the 2022/2023 Premier League season is where Caicedo’s development ratcheted into turbo drive. Last season, he ranked second in the league for tackles (100) and interceptions (56), according to Sky Sports and, potentially more important, he finished third in possessions won in the middle third of the pitch with 142.

After becoming the youngest Ecuadorian player to score in a FIFA World Cup thanks to his effort in Qatar, Caicedo is the definition of an elite footballer and is on the brink of turning his dream of being the most decorated player from his country into a reality.  

Where will Moises Caicedo play this season?

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool takes a shot during a football match

Remember that tornado of a rumor mill, surrounding his expected departure from the Seagulls? Well, while he had a number of suitors, Chelsea were the one most often linked to him throughout the summer, though Brighton were reported to be holding firm to their £100 million (about $127 million) valuation of him, rejecting a series of Chelsea bids that topped out at around £80 million ($102 million). Then, on August 10, the eve of the Premier League season, came the astounding news that Liverpool entered the fray, blowing Chelsea's bid out of the water with a £111 million ($141 million) offer, according to Sky Sports. Brighton accepted, appearing to seal Caicedo's move to Merseyside rather than west London.

RELATED: NFL Legend Tom Brady Becomes Minority Owner of Premier League Hopefuls Birmingham City

"The fee with the club is agreed," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed to Sky Sports. "We will see what that means. We aren't a club with endless resources, and we didn't expect a couple of things to happen this summer. Then it happened."

But in international football, player moves are a bit more complicated than in the U.S., and new contracts must be agreed to by the player and the acquiring team before any move is final. Caicedo, as Premier League insider Fabrizio Romano reported, informed Liverpool that “he only wants to join Chelsea!”

“Caicedo has decided to keep his word and only accept Chelsea as personal terms were agreed since end of May,” Romano continued in his exclusive. “Chelsea, set to bid again in order to get deal done with Brighton.”

Premier League insider Ben Jacobs reported that Chelsea asked Caicedo to sit tight as the club tried to figure out the financial ins and outs of securing the soon-to-be ex-Seagull.

RELATED: The 10 Most Valuable Football Clubs in the World in 2023

“Chelsea this morning asked Moises Caicedo to wait as they explore a way of hijacking Liverpool's own hijack,” Jacobs wrote  in his post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Caicedo hasn't traveled for a medical yet. #LFC have a £111m deal agreed with Brighton, but #CFC actively exploring options. One of the craziest stories of any window.”

Adding to the drama was the fact that Liverpool and Chelsea were set to square off Sunday at Stamford Bridge to kick off their respective Premier league campaigns, a match that ended in a 1-1 draw, and that highlighted the positive impact a defensive midfielder like Caicedo could have on both squads. 

But in the end, Chelsea have gotten their man, with Romano reporting later Sunday that Chelsea submitted a bid for £115 million ($146 million) and Brighton accepted. After a medical on Monday, Chelsea inked their new midfielder to a reported eight-year contract. 

It may not have been a transfer deadline deal, but the twists and turns of the Caicedo saga, which unfolded at breakneck speed over the course of a few days, highlighted just how dramatic the summer transfer window can get.

Watch Premier League coverage on USA Network, featuring Premier League Mornings, select matches, and Premier League Goal Zone (check listings for games/schedule). And catch up on all the action on Peacock.  

Read more about: