Chelsea and Liverpool have both ramped up their interest in Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo, according to a report.
The 21-year-old impressed for Ecuador at the World Cup and has been in excellent form for the Seagulls prior to heading to Qatar for the winter showpiece.
Graham Potter is said to be desperate to reunite with his former player at Stamford Bridge, but Liverpool will battle the Blues for his signature should he become available for transfer.
Caicedo joined Brighton in February 2021 for a bargain £5m from Argentine topflight club Independiente, before he was sent on a loan spell to Belgium with Beerschot VA.
The midfielder returned from his stint abroad in January and has gradually become a consistent starter, firstly under Potter and now under new boss Roberto de Zerbi.
And , according to Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth, both Potter and Klopp are vying for the Ecuadorian’s signature.
He tweeted: “Chelsea & Liverpool interested in Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.
“No formal talks yet. Brighton don’t want to sell mid-season and are under no pressure to sell – contract until 2025. Joined Brighton – under Graham Potter – for £5m in February 2021.”
Indeed, Brighton have no reason to sell Caicedo in January, given what a key player he is for them and the fact he is tied down to a contract for the next three years.
Caicedo is a versatile player, with the ability to play either as a defensive midfielder or in a number eight role.
He is good in possession, with a pass success rate of 87.3%. But his strongest attribute is his pressing and ability to break down opposition attacks.
In his first 14 games in the Premier League this season, Caicedo has averaged 3.1 tackles per game and 1.4 interceptions.
His aggressive style is displayed by the fact he has made the fourth-highest amount of tackles in the opposition’s half this season. He has also made the most fouls of any player in the division.
This tenacity is exactly what makes him so popular with Seagulls’ fans.
Potter knows Brighton will be desperate to keep Caicedo
Potter was no stranger to Liverpool trying to lure the youngster away from the South Coast while he was Brighton boss.
Back in August, he heaped praise on his midfielder during a press conference.
Potter said: “Well, it doesn’t surprise me that people are looking at him because he is playing at a fantastic level; and as soon as you do research on him you realise he is a top kid, great person, young, playing in the Premier League, has all the attributes to play at the very, very highest level.”
“But we know the position he is in and we know the position the club are in, which is we don’t want to lose him and we don’t think we will – but in football, you never know.”
Potter went on to joke at it would require an offer of at least £100m to sign Caicedo, so he is well aware of how highly the club value his services.
Brighton have previously staved off interest from the likes of Manchester United, who were reportedly “highly interested” as recently as November.
However, the fact that the Red Devils seem to be looking elsewhere for reinforcements suggests Brighton have very little chance of selling in the near future.
It seems it would require a huge offer from either Chelsea or Liverpool to lure Caicedo away from The Amex anytime soon.