What Brighton fans can expect from Ecuador wonderkid Moises Caicedo

By Ben Willcocks

Moises Caicedo agreed a four-and-a-half year deal at Brighton
Moises Caicedo agreed a four-and-a-half year deal at Brighton

Albion’s new £4.5million signing from Independiente del Valle may take a while to acclimatise to his new environment – but fans are already hoping he’ll develop into a future Premier League star.

The Seagulls swooped in ahead of Manchester United on deadline day; the Red Devils were also keen on landing the 19-year-old’s signature earlier in the window.

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South American football specialist Tim Vickery endorsed the youngster’s talents and praised Albion’s recruitment, stating: "Manchester United’s loss is Brighton’s gain."

According to Vickery, Independiente del Valle prides itself on developing and selling top-level youth prospects in order to survive as a football club.

Brighton previously signed striker Billy Arce from the Ecuadorian side back in 2018, and are becoming regular buyers in the South American market.

Arriving as an energetic and athletic box-to-box midfielder, Caicedo should offer Potter a different dynamic in the middle of the park, and perhaps provide a long-term partner for Yves Bissouma at the base of midfield.

The Ecuadorian international is unlikely to feature for Brighton in the immediate future, but Seagulls fans have already taken to social media to speculate his potential, comparing Caicedo to the French duo Patrick Vieira and Paul Pogba.

However, at a height of only 5’10, Caicedo possesses both a smaller and slighter frame than the former World Cup winners, which perhaps likens his playing style more suitably to ex-Chelsea midfielder Ramires.

During his six-year spell in West London, the Brazilian played an instrumental part in Chelsea’s domestic and European success; his pace, stamina and athleticism in midfield helped the club win the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup between 2012 and 2015.

Whilst not as defensively robust as N’Golo Kanté or Claude Makélélé, Ramires offered Chelsea a different quality in holding midfield, as he was able to cover the marauding runs of the full-backs and also offer support in attacking areas when called upon.

Therefore, in order to succeed in Chelsea colours, Ramires had to develop a profound intelligence and understanding of the game, which is something Caicedo must learn as he develops.

The last few transfer windows have shown an intent from Albion to build for the future. Firstly, Brighton’s capture of Tariq Lamptey on deadline day last season proved a shrewd signing, which suggests the club has a good track record when it comes to January deadline day deals.

Furthermore, after managing to fend off potential buyers for Ben White in the summer, Potter clearly understood the importance of developing young players at the Amex, and instead opted to send club veteran Shane Duffy out on loan to Celtic as a result.

Even outside of the transfer market, Potter was bold enough to replace Mat Ryan with 23-year-old goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, who has since showcased his shot-stopping ability between the sticks, most recently denying Carlos Vinícius with a crucial save against Spurs at the weekend.

Whilst lots of work still needs to be done to ensure Premier League survival for next season, the future is bright on the south coast.

Whether Caicedo realises his full potential in English football or not, the signing certainly demonstrates Brighton’s aspirations towards building for the future.