Moises Caicedo: Things to know about Ecuador's breakthrough star

Max Cooper
Moises Caicedo is a man in demand...
Moises Caicedo is a man in demand... / Pool/Getty Images

After being linked with a move to Manchester United for quite a while, the prodigal Moises Caicedo has now signed for Brighton and Hove Albion - in what is seen by many as a huge coup for the south coast club.

Having joined Independiente del Valle at the start last year, he has quickly developed into one of the most exciting young talents around; and Brighton seem to think he's ready to come to the Premier League and make a real difference.

But just who is Caicedo, and why is has he got this big move in January? Let's dive into some things to know about Moises.

1. Midfield maestro

The teenager started out as a holding midfielder, using his speed across the pitch to break up play and distribute to others. His natural ease at collecting the ball off the defence and smart passing between the lines saw him pushed into a more box-to-box role, where he has really come on leaps and bounds.

So, Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante rolled into one superhuman? Let's not chuck that particular pressure on his young shoulders immediately, but there is growing optimism that Brighton could have a real gem on their hands

2. Young champion

Caicedo scoring at international level
Caicedo scoring at international level / Pool/Getty Images

Caicedo has been bitten by the winning bug, and he has demonstrated his desire to achieve success at every level from an early age.

He won the Copa Mitad del Mundo with Independiente del Valle at youth level, before captaining them to victory in the Under-20 Libertadores final against giants River Plate.

Those achievements propelled him into the professional game as a tender teenager, but he has continued on his superb path to glory.

3. Senior career

Caicedo celebrating a goal
Caicedo celebrating a goal / Pool/Getty Images

Despite being only 19, Caicedo has already made 31 senior appearances for Independiente del Valle, and his record for impacting games is pretty frightening.

He has scored six goals and provided two assists in that time, including an absolute stunner which you might learn more about a little bit later. His growth has not gone unnoticed at international level, either.

Caicedo has been recognised by his country, making four appearances for Ecuador, hitting the ground running at the elite heights of international football.

He has scored once and laid on three assists in those World Cup qualifying matches, as Ecuador aim to secure a place in the next major tournament. His goal against Uruguay also made him the youngest ever scorer in Ecuador's history, so he's got a taste for breaking records.

4. He's got a hammer on him

From a holding midfielder, to box-to-box, to long distance specialist - the kid has got plenty of strings to his bow. Caicedo lit up the CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 with an absolute scorcher for Independiente del Valle.

Picking up a bobbling ball in midfield, he brought it down under his spell, shifted it onto his favoured right boot and blasted a thunderbolt beyond the stranded goalkeeper.

So, he's shown he can produce at both ends of the pitch, and he can do it on the biggest stage of all. It's hard to argue with talent like that.

5. Tipped for greatness

So, it's no surprise that Caicedo is tipped for the top. His coach, Miguel Angel Ramirez, told Marca that the Ecuadorian 'understands the game' and praised his 'great first touch and good control.'

"Moises understands the game, he has grown a lot in his understanding since he came to the first team. He has a great first touch and good control, which helps him keep the game moving."

The player himself is also aware of the expectations surrounding his development, but he is as demanding as anyone else. In an interview with Global Digital TV, he admitted he wants to compete 'in the elite of world football', and learns his game from Kante and Pogba.

“My challenge is one day to be in the elite of world football. I have proposed this to myself, my dream is to play in the big leagues.

“I really like the game of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, I learn a lot from them every time I see them. I always try to do what they do, that’s why they are there.”