This weekend marks the start of the Premier League, and one of the most anticipated matches of the first weekend will pit Chelsea against Liverpool, though perhaps not for the reasons you might think.
The focus leading up to this game has been more on which club might sign Moisés Caicedo from Brighton & Hove Albion than it has been on the clubs’ opening game of the new season and how they will perform this year.
Caicedo is being sought by both Liverpool and, according to reports, Chelsea in one of the most confusing transfer sagas in recent memory. It is unclear which team the 21-year-old will play for at this point.
Although Liverpool has made a proposal of £111 million ($141 million) for him, it is still unclear whether the Ecuadorian international would join the 2019 Premier League champion.
During the summer transfer window, Caicedo was also heavily rumored to be moving to Chelsea, but his agent would to comment when asked where the midfielder was headed.
In response to several claims that the club wants to sign Caicedo, CNN has contacted Chelsea. Chelsea was still silent at the time this article was published.
In a press conference on Friday, Liverpool head coach Jürgen Klopp stated that the club and Brighton have reached an agreement on a transfer fee for Caicedo.
According to the BBC, Brighton’s star will cost $141 million, shattering both British and Premier League transfer records. Chelsea now holds the record after spending £107 million ($135 million) for Argentine player Enzo Fernandez from Benfica earlier this year.
Earlier on Friday, Klopp said: “I can confirm a contract with [Brighton] is agreed. I was told this.
“What did change is that we are a club with not endless resources, so things we didn’t expect, a couple of things happening in the summer [Jordan Henderson and Fabinho leaving], stuff like this,” added Klopp, referring to the two former Liverpool midfielders, who have recently joined clubs in Saudi Arabia.
“We didn’t think about that before the summer, to be honest and when it happened, we gave it a go and obviously, the club was really stretched there, to be honest.”
But in an unexpected change of events, Liverpool’s chances of signing the 21-year-old midfielder seem premature because Caicedo apparently prefers a transfer to Chelsea, according to Sky Sports.
Ecuadorian midfielder Caicedo, who cost £4.5 million ($5.7 million) to join Brighton from Independiente del Valle, has excelled in the Premier League.
Due to his performances, Caicedo has attracted the attention of some of the top clubs in England.
In this year’s January transfer window, Arsenal reportedly made a bid for the 21-year-old midfielder, and Chelsea have long been associated with the Brighton star.
Caicedo used Instagram during the January transfer window to beg for a transfer away. Caicedo apparently received a directive to avoid the Brighton training facility until the window closed, but in March he agreed to a new, long-term contract with the south coast club.
“I have already forgotten about Moises,” Brighton manager De Zerbi told a media conference on Friday. “I’m really proud of the players we have in the squad.
“We want to keep improving. The credit goes to the club. Bigger clubs can buy our players but they can’t buy our soul or spirit.
“We are Brighton, we achieved a big target last year – the same as Liverpool, better than Chelsea. I would like players who are proud to play in Brighton.”
The new Premier League season begins on Friday with newly promoted Burnley hosting defending champion Manchester City.