Ten Hag showing “interest” in £70m “jewel”, he could be Man United’s answer to Rice

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The Brighton and Hove Albion standout, Moises Caicedo, is apparently a target for Manchester United, who previously passed up the chance to buy the masterful midfielder.

What has changed since Caicedo joined Man United?
The Old Trafford team is reportedly one of many Premier League teams interested in recruiting the 21-year-old this summer, however any move is expected to cost more than £70 million, according to writer Sam Dean.

The reputable source wrote on Twitter that Brighton will seek much more than £70 million for Moises Caicedo this summer. In addition to Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal have all expressed interest; the final price may also influence their involvement.

Despite the young player having only recently signed a new long-term contract, Dean writes in the attached article for The Telegraph that the Seagulls are ‘prepared’ to allow the Ecuadorian talent depart the Amex before the start of the next season.

Caicedo should Man United acquire?
If United were to sign the 5 foot 10 sensation this summer, it would certainly be a long time coming. In fact, the club pulled out of a deal to sign the then-teenager from Independiente de Valle back in 2021 because the deal became too “messy,” according to Manchester Evening News, before the exciting prospect joined Brighton for just £4.5 million.

As far as the Red Devils are concerned, that decision to not pursue a trade for Caicedo now stands out as a major mistake given that the midfield “jewel” — as described by historian Enrico Castro-Montes — has recently developed into a dominant presence on the south coast.

The dynamic jewel appears to have “no limit,” as manager Roberto De Zerbi put it, and may “become one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and in Europe” given his exceptional potential.

Due to his relative youth, Caicedo would not only be a player Erik ten Hag could build his team around over the next few years, but the 30-cap wonder could also prove to be the Dutchman’s answer to Declan Rice given that the two players are said to have several statistical and stylistic similarities, according to FBref.

The West Ham United captain has been mentioned as a potential target for Ten Hag this summer, though a reported valuation of around £100m is likely to prove something of a roadblock. Rivals Arsenal are also thought to be “leading the race” for his services right now, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Because of this, finding Caicedo to replace the 24-year-old could be a real coup. The two players share a creative, front-foot quality from the centre of the field, as evidenced by the fact that the Englishman recorded 240 progressive passes in the league in 2022–23 while the Seagulls star recorded 219 for the same metric.

The dominating tandem has also demonstrated that they are particularly adept at regaining possession for their respective teams, with Rice being in the top 5% and Caicedo in the top 11% of European peers for interceptions, respectively.

The fact that the later player averaged 3.8 tackles and interceptions per game in the top division this season, while the younger player was just ahead after averaging 4.2 per game for the same stats under De Zerbi, further highlights the resemblance between the two players.

That suggests that even if Rice—hailed by ex-United player Paul Parker as the “best central midfielder in the country”—proves to be unachievable this summer, turning to Caicedo may enable Ten Hag to establish his own version of the West Ham machine.

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