The summer transfer saga involving Moises Caicedo had more plotlines and twists than a big-budget Hollywood thriller, though the Ecuadorian midfielder is now finally on the cusp of completing his British record transfer to Chelsea.
The 21-year-old would have been an interested viewer of the Blues’ clash with Liverpool on Sunday after the Reds had made a late dash to sign him from Brighton under Chelsea’s noses, and it would have been clear from any observer’s perspective that both midfields on show at Stamford Bridge were in dire need of reinforcement.
Chelsea believe that £155m-man Caicedo is the player to add muscle to their soft underbelly in the middle and the anchorman should find winning a spot in Mauricio Pochettino’s XI a relatively straightforward task.
How might Chelsea line up with Caicedo?
Mauricio Pochettino deployed Chelsea in a 3-4-1-2 formation against Liverpool in London on Sunday and with the club’s personnel a good fit for that shape, it’s a system we should see more of as the campaign progresses.
Homegrown starlet Conor Gallagher was chosen to fill in alongside Enzo Fernandez in midfield against the Merseysiders and though the 23-year-old performed admirably at Stamford Bridge, the hard-working runner is almost certain to drop out once Caicedo’s move is complete.
Enzo Fernandez showcased his fantastic playmaking skills on Sunday, spraying the ball around 94 times compared to Gallagher’s output of 67 passes, and the Argentinean’s sharp distribution skills should ensure that he is one of the first names on the Chelsea team sheet this season under his compatriot and manager, Mauricio Pochettino.
Liverpool did manage to break through Chelsea’s lines with ease during several passages of play however, and it was clear that the Blues were more than a little porous through the middle, especially during transitional moments.
The tireless Moises Caicedo is adept at sniffing out danger and covering spaces, as evidenced by some of his statistics from last season, which included 2.7 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per 90 for Brighton.
In theory, a partnership between Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez should offer Chelsea a perfectly balanced combination of brains, brawn, physicality and technique, with both players capable of offering a mix of all those attributes.
Romeo Lavia thrown into the midfield mix?
If the prospect of Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo working in tandem wasn’t enough to excite Chelsea supporters, then the arrival of Romeo Lavia from Southampton is certain to crank up titillation levels at Stamford Bridge.
Alongside signing Caicedo, Chelsea are believed to be closing in on the signing of the highly-rated Belgian international in a move that could potentially set the Blues up for a decade of midfield excellence.
Lavia had looked nailed on to join Liverpool, though Chelsea have again gazumped their rivals and stolen ahead of the Reds in the race for another big name.
Like Caicedo, Lavia is a holding midfielder by trade, though the talented teenager’s skill set lends itself to more creative than destructive remits. Lavia should offer something different to both Caicedo and Fernandez, and Chelsea fans have every right to be giddy about the future of their team’s midfield.