Brighton CEO surprised Moises Caicedo chose Chelsea over Liverpool

Brighton & Hove Albion CEO Paul Barber admits that he was left surprised by Moises Caicedo’s decision to reject a move to Liverpool in favour of joining Chelsea.

Brighton & Hove Albion CEO Paul Barber has admitted that he was left surprised by Moises Caicedo‘s decision to reject a move to Liverpool in favour of joining Chelsea.

The 21-year-old had been strongly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge throughout the summer transfer window before Liverpool decided to enter the race for his signature earlier this month.

Brighton, who made it clear that they were holding out for a nine-figure fee for Caicedo, accepted a £110m bid from Liverpool last Friday and the midfielder was expected to head to Merseyside for a medical.

However, there was another twist in the transfer saga as Caicedo opted to turn down a transfer to Anfield after making it clear that his heart was set on a move to Chelsea.

After seeing multiple offers for Caicedo rejected by Brighton earlier this summer, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side eventually reached an agreement to sign the Ecuador international for a British-record £115m and the deal was officially confirmed on Monday afternoon.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Moises Caicedo in action on April 1, 2023© Reuters

Caicedo has put pen to paper on an eight-year contract at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea have the option to extend his deal by a further year, potentially keeping him at the club until 2032.

The midfielder departs Brighton two-and-a-half years after joining the club for just £4.5m from Independiente del Valle, and Seagulls chief Barber has stated that the youngster’s preference was always to move to London having initially pushed to join Arsenal back in January.

However, Barber was surprised that Caicedo was not tempted by a move to Liverpool, telling talkSPORT: “Liverpool’s a fantastic football club. For any footballer to have the chance to play at Liverpool, you’d imagine that they’d be running up the M6 but it wasn’t to be.

“Moises and his advisors decided for whatever reason that London was their preferred destination, and ultimately Chelsea.

“Obviously that puts us in a slightly difficult position because we’ve negotiated a deal, we’d spent many days working with Liverpool. They couldn’t have done anymore, they were superb and professional throughout.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Moises Caicedo in action for Ecuador on November 25, 2022© Reuters

“But then it comes down to the player. At the point that it was clear he wasn’t going to Liverpool we have to go into a different mode – having negotiated a British-record transfer, we have to do it again three days later.

“It was unusual to say the least, but we did it. We were working with Chelsea as soon as we realised Liverpool weren’t able to proceed and we had to protect our own interests; our player and his value. We’ve done that and Moises goes onto the next stage of his career.”

Caicedo has since expressed his delight after finalising a “dream” move to Chelsea, telling the club’s official website: “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.

“It’s a dream come true to be here and I can’t wait to get started with the team.”

Caicedo could be available to make his Chelsea debut when they travel across London to face West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Brighton, meanwhile, have reportedly identified Lille midfielder Carlos Baleba as a potential replacement for Caicedo and have opened talks with the French club.

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