The most incredible saga of the 2023 summer transfer market (at least so far...) is over.
Moises Caicedo will play for Chelsea after a crazy story of deals, phone calls, rejected and accepted offers, sleepless nights and finally the green light late on Sunday evening to complete a deal that changes the history of British football.
A £115m package plus sell-on clause in the contract - this is the fee for Brighton & Hove Albion who will collect a £100m surplus for a player who cost just £4.5m only two years ago.
The story starts from January: Moises Caicedo had found an agreement with Arsenal on personal terms, he tried in every way to free himself but Brighton refused two official offers. "No chance, Caicedo is not for sale in January; see you in the summer", Brighton position looks strong and clear.
The player was disappointed because he wanted a top club move but agreed to sign a new contract at Brighton to improve his salary; the promise of the club and Roberto de Zerbi is clear, you will be sold in the summer.
But when Chelsea reached an agreement with Caicedo and his camp on personal terms in May, also because Arsenal were now 100% focused on Declan Rice, a more than difficult negotiation began. It's never easy to argue with Brighton, the club board and in particular the owner Tony Bloom are very tough in every negotiation.
But between June and the end of July, Chelsea got three negative responses to three offers: £65m, £70m and £80m. That's not enough, Brighton want Chelsea to bid at least £100m after seeing Declan Rice leave for Arsenal for £106m.
Negotiations slow down, Chelsea take time because they know Moises just wants to sign for the Blues. Question of strategy. But last Thursday there was a surprise that can always be expected when it's about top players and top clubs.
Liverpool appear in the race with an official offer made ahead of midnight deadline decided by Brighton: Chelsea offer £100m, Liverpool instead £115m and reach an agreement in principle with Brighton.
During the night, Liverpool began to prepare documents and contracts with medical tests booked for Caicedo. "We have an agreement with Brighton. Player side? We will see...", Jurgen Klopp said in a press conference.
Yet there is a big surprise. Despite optimism on Thursday night, Liverpool were informed by Moises Caicedo in a clear way: thanks for the proposal but I want Chelsea, it's my choice and I intend to respect it.
Liverpool are trying to understand if there is room to change the situation, they are waiting for Moises for the medical tests but there is no room for surprise. Caicedo chose Chelsea and from that moment he began another far from easy negotiation with Brighton.
Chelsea insist, push and after two days of long negotiations they obtain a historic agreement for British football: £115m package with add-ons included, very easy to reach... and a sell-on clause for future sale.
Brighton accept just after Chelsea-Liverpool, there is the green light for the medical tests and a saga that ends. For Caicedo the contract is very long: eight year with an option for further season, potentially until June 2029.
There is a new era at Chelsea, with Caicedo and Enzo the new masters of the midfield under Mauricio Pochettino.