Is Moises Caicedo really worth £115m?

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As a hectic summer transfer window comes to a close, many Premier League clubs have undergone drastic squad changes. Chelsea is no exception, spending the most out of any club with a whopping £345.1 million. Moises Caicedo, who Brighton had bought in 2021 for just £4.5 million, was their most expensive player at £115 million, dwarfing their second most expensive signing Romeo Lavia’s price tag of £53 million. Caicedo’s deal is extortionately high. However, is the player worth the price tag? 

Caicedo is a defensive-minded midfielder, breaking up opposition play with his agile movements. The Ecuadorian proved his defensive superiority, making 100 tackles in just one season, the second highest out of any Premier League player. A total of 56 interceptions solidify him as an exceptional juggernaut in defence. The 21 year old’s playstyle is a culmination of his raw physical talent and high defensive IQ. Although young, he plays with the maturity of an experienced footballer and has the potential to become an incredible player with the right manager and team. 

Previously in the 2022/2023 season, Chelsea severely underperformed, finishing 12th in the Premier League. The Blues struggled defensively, especially in the midfield, keeping only 10 clean sheets. So is the price justified because Caicedo fits the defensive role that the club needs? In short, no. When it comes to deals like this, there’s more to it than just the skill of the player…

The 21 year old’s playstyle is a culmination of his raw physical talent and high defensive IQ.

For starters, in March the Ecuadorian signed a new long-term contract with Brighton lasting 4 years, with an option to extend the contract by another year. It is more expensive to sign a player if their club has contracted them for several future years. Therefore, Chelsea had to pay compensation to Brighton for every year Caicedo was supposed to play for Brighton. This fee would be included in the overall £115 million.

A series of further add-ons and clauses within Caicedo’s contract further increase Brighton’s profit by an estimated £15 million. These could include goal and assist bonuses which are extra payments made to a player upon completion of specfic tasks. 

Caicedo’s previous club, Independiente del Valle, included a sell-on clause when selling him to Brighton. A sell-on clause states that whenever a specific player moves clubs, a small fee must be paid to the club that initiated the clause. Independiate del Valle’s sell-on clause was 20%, meaning that they are estimated to make around £23 million from the Chelsea deal. This sum is included in the £115 million. 

Chelsea signed the Ecuadorian on an extremely long, 8-year deal with an option to extend for another year. Amortisation could explain why Caicedo’s deal is so high, as the sum is spread over a longer period of time compared to that of a 5-year contract. 

Ultimately, Caicedo is a promising up and coming talent who excels in almost every aspect of the defensive game and Chelsea are in desperate need for someone of his skillset. However that said, the club overpaid for Caicedo, and he is not worth £115 million. An accumulation of clauses and additions in his contract skyrocket the transfer fee to well over what the player is truly worth. Therefore, Chelsea should have gone for a player of similar calibre to Caicedo, but without any of the additional fees implemented by clauses.  

Image by jamesboyes via Wikimedia Commons

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