Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo has told Sky Sports it was “impossible” to turn down the club in favour of Liverpool last summer – as the Reds came in too late for him.

Caicedo moved to Stamford Bridge for a British transfer record £115m in August, putting a dent in Liverpool’s fruitless search for a new No 6 following Fabinho’s summer departure.

They eventually opted for Stuttgart midfielder Wataru Endo, who joined Jurgen Klopp’s side for around £100m less than the Ecuadorian and has started only four of their 16 Premier League games this season.

Caicedo had been linked with a move to Chelsea long before Liverpool’s interest became public. Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Saturday’s home game with Sheffield United, he revealed the length of the negotiations he had held with the Blues was a deciding factor in where he ended up after leaving Brighton.

“I was talking with Chelsea for a long time. It was impossible to say not to Chelsea, because they were with me supporting me,” Caicedo explained.

“In the summer I suffered a lot because it was complicated to leave Brighton. They were with me, and in the last moment Liverpool called me but it was [too] late because I wanted to play for Chelsea. It was tough to say no to Chelsea.”

The size of Caicedo’s price tag eclipsed the British record fee already paid by Chelsea to Enzo Fernandez earlier in 2023, and has only been amplified by a tough start to life in West London.

Moises Caicedo is influential on and off the ball for Brighton
Moises Caicedo’s stats ranked above the highest in the Premier League last season – but he has not hit those heights since joining Chelsea

On whether he feels shackled by the price paid for him, Caicedo said: “Not for the fee, because at Chelsea you always have to win. Always, every game, if you don’t win you feel the pressure, because the fans always want to see the team winning.

“Sometimes it’s difficult [to win] because the other teams are tough as well. We know we are Chelsea, but we are a new team with young players. Personally, I’ve only been here four months, everything is new for me.

“I think it’s about time. It’s going to take time.”

Caicedo remains confident despite tough start

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Watch highlights from Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday, their seventh league loss already this season

Caicedo was seen as one of the Premier League’s brightest defensive midfielders under Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton, who he helped qualify for the Europa League for the first time in their history last season.

He is yet to reproduce that form in the blue shirt of Chelsea, who have won only five of 16 Premier League games since his arrival and sit 12th in the table, already 14 points off a top-four spot.

That has not dented the confidence of the 22-year-old, who has already racked up 59 appearances in the English top flight and missed only one league game at the Amex last season.

“In my career, I’ve achieved a lot, for example playing for the national team, [then] Brighton bought me and I played a good season at Brighton,” he told Sky Sports.

Chelsea sit 12th in the Premier League - closer to the relegation zone than the top four
Chelsea sit 12th in the Premier League – closer to the relegation zone than the top four

“I did really well. Other people spent on me, because last season I was an incredible player and other people were speaking [well] about me.

“I know that this moment, it will arrive, because in football there will be good and bad times.

“Right now, this is a bad time for me, and my family is suffering a lot because they read and listen to the things people say about me that are not good.

“It’s hard. It’s hard for me. I try to be strong, because football is like this. I am prepared for this.

“I try to help them in every single way, because they’re with me in good moments and bad moments. After God, my family is the most important thing.

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Clinton Morrison and the Sports Sunday panel discuss what is going wrong for Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea after their latest loss to Everton at Goodison Park

“They are proud but, at the moment, they are suffering because of how people speak about me, not in a good way. It’s normal. I tell them to be relaxed and not read the bad things because it’s not good for them.”

On the bond he shares with Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino, Caicedo said: “We have a good relationship. He protects me from the criticism. He has been really kind and patient with me.

“He knows who I am and that is why he is relaxed with me. I’m only here four months; I didn’t do a good pre-season because it was tough for me. I’m sure I’m going to really show my quality, to show who I am.”

‘Kante and Pogba were my idols in football’

N'Golo Kante
Moises Caicedo hails N’Golo Kante as his ‘idol’ growing up, but he never got to play alongside him at Chelsea

Caicedo and outgoing Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante passed like ships in the night at Stamford Bridge, with the Frenchman leaving London for Saudi Arabia at the end of his contract on June 30, barely a month before his replacement was signed.

It meant the ex-Brighton man never got to play alongside the idol he watched growing up – and as a 15-year-old saw him complete Leicester’s Premier League fairytale in 2016 – but he does still have a memory of facing him in the Premier League, at least.

“N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba were my idols in football,” he said. “I loved watching them.

“Playing in my neighbourhood, I would play with my brother’s friends. It was amazing because they were older, so I learnt a lot from them.

“Meeting N’Golo Kante – it was amazing. I was at Brighton, on the bench. I think it was 1-1. After the game, I ran straight to Kante to swap shirts. He said ‘yes, of course’.

“He was very kind with me. It was an incredible moment for me because I met my idol.

“It was the same with Paul Pogba and I swapped shirts with him. I have the shirts back in Ecuador. Nobody can take the shirts away. They are so special to me.”

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