On deadline day Albion announced the signing of South American starlet Moises Caicedo. Though he may still be a teenager, the Ecuadorian comes to the club boasting international and domestic pedigree.
The capture of Caicedo is yet another example of Albion's commitment to invest and nurture youth players. On average, Graham Potter has fielded the third youngest squad in the Premier League this season, and after Brighton's win at Villa Park in November, Potter had given seven Premier League debuts to Albion players while they were under-23. Caicedo could take that figure to ten, with Reda Khadra and Andi Zeqiri both handed their first Premier League minutes recently.
7️⃣ - Jayson Molumby becomes the 7th U23 player that Graham Potter has given a Premier League debut to:— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) November 21, 2020
🇮🇪 Jayson Molumby (‘99)
🏴 Ben White (‘97)
🇦🇷 Alexis Mac Allister (‘99)
🇨🇴 Steven Alzate (‘98)
🇮🇪 Aaron Connolly (‘00)
🇫🇷 Neal Maupay (‘97)
🇪🇸 Robert Sanchez (‘97)#BHAFC pic.twitter.com/tcW5aGNu8F
Stylistically, Caicedo is a right-footed, deep-lying midfielder. StatsBomb's comparison of the midfielder against league averages is clear proof of his outstanding technical ability.
Moisés Caicedo. Independiente del Valle. Ecuador Liga Pro. 2020. Radar vs. la media de la liga en su posición. Rumbo a Inglaterra pic.twitter.com/lO62tYas24— StatsBombES (@StatsBombES) February 1, 2021
The Ecuadorian seems archetypal of a Potter midfielder, technically excellent with a wide passing library and competent as a ball carrier. Caicedo typically plays short, with only four Brighton players averaging a shorter pass length, though this is not reflective of an avoidance to play risky passes, but instead testament to Caicedo's ability to combine with teammates.
Compared to current Brighton players, only Dunk (36.6) and Webster (36.3) receive more passes per game than the 19-year-old (35.9). Though Caicedo's stats are from a different team and league, it is worth noting that Independiente del Valle average over 66% possession this season, so Caicedo will be used to playing expansive football.
The Ecuadorian is accurate in almost 92% of his passes played – the best accuracy of any player at Brighton over the last calendar year and Caicedo still boasts a Brighton-chart-topping accuracy for forward passes (83%) and long passes (78%). Such consistency makes it no wonder that he was so involved in Independiente's attacks – he directly assisted four goals in all competitions last season, whilst successfully playing the pre-assist pass on another four occasions.
Moises Caicedo (‘01) in all competitions across 2020:— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) February 1, 2021
◉ 2,556 minutes
◉ 180 ball recoveries
◉ 149/175 final third passes completed
◉ 92/164 defensive duels won
◉ 89 interceptions
◉ 53 fouls won
◉ 12 goal involvements (8 goals, 4 assists)
Brighton-bound. 🔵#BHAFC pic.twitter.com/4bjh7TpMWz
Caicedo has shown his class on the international stage, too. Across Ecuador's four 2022 World Cup qualifiers to date, Caicedo sits second among his compatriots for accurate passes (38), goals + assists (4), accurate long passes (2.5), chances created (1.8), while taking third spot for tackles per 90 minutes (2.3), evidence of just how rounded his game is.
Such numbers become even more impressive when it is considered how recent he has burst onto the international scene. Caicedo made his debut in September 2020, becoming Ecuador's 12th youngest international ever and ninth youngest this century. He started against Argentina aged 18 years, 11 months and 7 days, and when he netted in the 4-2 win over Uruguay, he became Ecuador's youngest ever goal-scorer as well as the first 21st century-born player to score in South American World Cup qualifying.
Moises Caicédo (‘01) v Uruguay in October 2020:— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) February 8, 2021
85 minutes played
41 accurate passes (4/6 long passes completed)
4/5 tackles won
3 chances created
2 shots taken
1 goal scored
Ecuador’s youngest ever goal-scorer. 🇪🇨#BHAFC pic.twitter.com/AJa3V8VeJX
On his debut against Alexis Mac Allister's Argentina, Caicedo touched the ball 47 times, completing 23 passes and won 2/2 tackles in 79 minutes. That 1-0 defeat is Ecuador's only thus far in their qualifying campaign, with Caicedo and his country sat third in the group and well on track to qualify. Of the 19-year-old's 56 touches in the Argentina defeat, 55 came between both boxes, the area of the pitch where he excels the most. This was highlighted by Potter after the signing was announced.
The Albion head coach also pointed out the physicality that the youngster offers; ranked against Brighton players he is in the top five for fouls committed per 90 (1.62) as well as fouls won (1.93). Four of his seven goals in the last year have been scored from outside the area, whilst two of his three from inside the penalty area were converted following a combination with a team-mate, reflective of his ability to use short passing effectively and in this instance to produce an end product.
🤩🔵⚪⚽ New @OfficialBHAFC signing Moisés Caicedo had quite the impressive 2020 for @IDV_EC and Ecuador:— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@TheLibertadores) February 1, 2021
✅ Score in a @FIFAWorldCup Qualifier
✅ Score 2 *golazos* in the #Libertadores
✅ A key role while leading his side to the u-20 #Libertadores title pic.twitter.com/S854qIsuRL
His accuracy in passing is also evident when finishing. Close to 44% of Caicedo's shots hit the target, whilst he converts over 21% of strikes – no Brighton player can better him in either metric. An ability to score from range as well as combine with team-mates to create and convert shows similarity with South American compatriot Mac Allister as 84% of Caicedo's progressive actions are through passes, with Davy Propper, Pascal Gross (both 86%) and Ben White (85%) all showing similar proportions of progression in such fashion.
Comparatively, Steven Alzate (22%), Alexis Mac Allister (20%) and Yves Bissouma (19%) all record a greater proportion of ball progressions through dribbles than Caicedo (16%).
Courtesy of @N_O_Analytics, see how new boy Moisés Caicedo (‘01) compares to current Brighton midfielders.— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) February 8, 2021
There’s a big step up from the LigaPro (Ecuador) to the PL, so consider this more a style comparison.
1️⃣ v Bissouma
2️⃣ v White
3️⃣ v Pröpper
4️⃣ v Gross #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/c71WlP22rq