Moisés Caicedo: Analyzing Chelsea’s Club-Record Signing

Chelsea have completed the signing of Ecuadorian midfielder Moisés Caicedo on an eight-year contract with the club option for a further year, paying a fee of £100 million plus £15 million in add-ons (€134m), making him the most expensive footballer of all time after Neymar (€222m) and Kylian Mbappé (€180m). But just what makes Caicedo such a special talent?


The youngest of ten siblings, Caicedo grew up in the small town of Santo Domingo, Ecuador, where goals were marked by piles of stones. His father operated a rickshaw whilst his mother would sometimes wash clothes in order to bring in extra money. Caicedo soon caught the eye of local coach Ivan Guerra, who bought him his boots, paid for his bus fare and helped chip in when his family couldn’t afford food.


In 2016, he joined Independiente del Valle, rupturing his cruciate ligament the following year and missing ten months on the sidelines. He would make his first-team debut in October 2019, quickly becoming a key figure in the center of the pitch under Miguel Ángel Ramírez, who stated, “From the first day he trained with us, he was the best player in the squad.”


These impressive performances would see him join Brighton Hove & Albion in February 2021, eventually joining Belgian side Beerschot on a season-long loan, only to be recalled midway through the season due to a shortage of midfielders at the Amex. He would make his Premier League debut in April, starting and assisting Enock Mwepu’s goal in a 2-1 win at Arsenal, before opening the scoring the following month in a 4-0 win over Manchester United.


Romeo Lavia: What Makes the Teenage Midfielder Such a Special Talent?


In the summer of 2022, the Seagulls replaced Neal Maupay with Julio Enciso, whilst also replacing Marc Cucurella with Pervis Estupiñán, but when they sold Yves Bissouma to Tottenham, they elected not to sign a replacement. Instead, they gave Caicedo the reins in midfield, with the Ecuadorian starting in each of Brighton’s first six matches of the season under Graham Potter prior to his departure to Chelsea.


He would continue his upward rise under Roberto De Zerbi, impressing in the center of the pitch alongside Alexis Mac Allister. Whilst he has thrived in a defensive midfield role, he is capable in multiple different roles due to his refined delivery, his ability to wriggle himself out of tight areas, and a physical prowess that enables him to win the ball back and hold the ball up under pressure. He has even played as an inverted right back, capable of hugging the touchline out of possession and breaking down deep blocks with his incisive passes through the defensive line.


Rather than hide from the ball, he is constantly putting himself between the center backs to receive in the first phase. A  player who doesn’t need a handful of touches to turn away from pressure and progress up the pitch, he is an efficient, technically gifted midfielder who makes solid decisions on and off the ball. He puts in a shift out of possession and is more than capable of covering space in behind and enabling his fullbacks to push forward.


Caicedo played in 37 Premier League matches last season, averaging nearly 7 recoveries per game and committing fewer than two fouls per match, highlighting his aggressive but not overly reckless nature. He completes over 88% of his passes, and he is skilled at protecting his defense in transitions as well as evading pressure with his incisive runs. A counter-attacking demon, Caicedo has the skill to weave his way out of pressure, carry the ball into the final third and link up with teammates in dangerous positions.


Having previously thrived alongside Alexis Mac Allister in the center of the pitch for Brighton, Caicedo will be looking to excel in midfield alongside another World Cup winner in Enzo Fernández as well as new midfield recruit Romeo Lavia, who has joined from Southampton. Caicedo should prove decisive under Mauricio Pochettino as Chelsea look to improve on their 12th-place finish and compete for a spot in an increasingly competitive top four.


By: Brian Guevara / @BrianRagnarok

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Soccrates Images / Getty Images