Despite Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi insisting Moises Caicedo is still “focused,” hours later the midfielder requested a move to a mystery club.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of Brighton‘s FA Cup clash with Liverpool, De Zerbi explained that he had advised Caicedo to stay “until at least the end of the season.”
“I spoke with Moises and told him it’s difficult to change during the season,” he told reporters.
“I spoke to him as a father, not a coach.”
This came after reports of rejected bids from both Chelsea (£55m) and Arsenal (£60m), with a litany of clubs interested in the 21-year-old – including, of course, Liverpool.
With Brighton said to be holding out for £100 million for their No. 25, the suggestion was that they would not sell in the January transfer window.
But having changed agents earlier in January, Caicedo has clearly been advised to push hard for a move before Tuesday’s deadline.
“I am grateful to Mr. Bloom and Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best for them,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I always play football with a smile and with heart.
“I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador. My dream always [was] to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador.
“I am proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton which would allow them to reinvest it and help the club continue to be successful.
“The fans have taken me into their hearts and they will always be in my heart so I hope they can understand why I want to take up this magnificent opportunity.”
There is no mention of which club Caicedo is hoping to join, nor the “record transfer fee” that club has offered, though it should be noted Brighton sold Marc Cucurella to Chelsea for around £62 million last summer.
It seems unlikely that this would be Liverpool, but stranger things have happened, not least the surprise move for Cody Gakpo last month.
Either way, Caicedo’s desperate attempt to force through a move serves as a sideshow to Brighton‘s attempt to defeat Liverpool for the second time in just over two weeks.
The Athletic‘s David Ornstein has since reported that the player will not be involved on Sunday, having been told to stay away until after the transfer deadline passes.