Arsenal have been linked with a surprise late move for “Machine” this week…
What’s the word?
The Express claim that the Gunners are one of several Premier League teams interested in the Brighton and Hove Albion star after his eye-catching start to life in England.
Manchester United and West Ham United are the other English teams named by the report, though it remains to be seen if the Seagulls would be open to selling him – and for how much – particularly as they have already sold Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella in this current transfer window.
The Ecuador international cost them just £4.5m but is now estimated to be worth around €20m (£17m), as per CIES Football Observatory, who assess the transfer value of professional footballers on a scientific basis.
Time to forget Youri Tielemans
This interest could well put pay to the long-standing rumours surrounding Arsenal’s mooted move for Youri Tielemans, who has been linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium from Leicester City for much of the off-season and the summer.
CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs revealed to GIVEMESPORT in July that the Gunners had agreed personal terms with the player, whilst the Telegraph’s reliable Midlands correspondent John Percy claimed back in May that Arteta was urging the club to splash £25m on the Belgian international.
For whatever reason, though, that move is yet to come to fruition and there are doubts over whether it actually will be completed before deadline day on September 1st.
Instead, Caicedo could be exactly what Arteta needs in the engine room.
The 20-year-old is a box-to-box midfielder “who makes football look very easy,” according to South American football expert Tim Vickery, who also claimed he is a more complete version of N’Golo Kante, adding:
“A year ago he was saying that Kante of Chelsea is his role model but he is already more than that. He already offers more in the final third.
“That kind of box-to-box midfielder that’s very much in the tradition of the England game. Strong, quick, intelligent and cool. He really does look like the genuine article.”
From just eight appearances last season, Caicedo ranked as Graham Potter’s best-performing player with an average WhoScored rating of 7.07. He won an average of two tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game and contributed further up the pitch with an average of 0.9 dribbles and 1.3 shots per game.
That form has continued into the new campaign, where he is only behind Danny Welbeck for rating. Across the Seagulls’ opening two games, he has managed a total of eight tackles, five interceptions and four key passes, leading the squad in every metric bar the latter, where he is second by just one attempt, via WhoScored.
Ecuadorian football historian and statistician Enrico Castro-Montes went further on those comparisons to the Chelsea star and claimed to Het Niuewsblad (via Sport Witness) that Caicedo was ” a cross between Kante and Pogba.”
“There will be a lot of pressure on Caicedo’s shoulders. His nickname in Ecuador is ‘La Joya’, the jewel. In his own country, he is really seen as the crown jewel of a new generation,” he added.
“Caicedo really has everything to become the best Ecuadorian footballer of all time. I think that off the ball, he is indeed somewhat reminiscent of Kante, but on the ball, he resembles Paul Pogba with his flair and his technique.”
Also dubbed a “machine man” by scout Jacek Kulig, it’s clear that the 20-year-old Ecuador gem has all the attributes to continue thriving in England and in the Gunners’ hunt for further midfield depth, they could find the answer in Caicedo, who has as many as five years of potential on Tielemans.
The Belgian’s two tackles, zero interceptions and one key pass this season aren’t a match for the Seagulls star, so Edu and co must forget about him and turn their attention to Caicedo at all costs in these final two weeks of the transfer window.