When Liverpool and Brighton agreed a £111M fee for Moises Caicedo last week, both clubs believed he was prepared to become the final piece of Jürgen Klopp’s midfield rebuild. The player and his agents, though, had misled the Reds and only wanted to use their interest to facilitate a Chelsea move.
For Brighton CEO Paul Barber, it wasn’t a welcome development, but at the end of the day the priority for the Seagulls was completing the sale of a player not in training with the club and so if Caicedo was unwilling to join the club whose bid he had encouraged, a deal with Chelsea needed to be struck.
“Liverpool’s a fantastic club,” said Barber. “For any footballer to have the chance to play at Liverpool you’d imagine they’d be running up the M6 for the chance to play at Anfield but it wasn’t to be as Moises and his advisors decided for whatever reason that Chelsea was their preferred destination.
“Obviously that situation puts us in a slightly difficult position because we’ve negotiated a British-record deal, we’d spent several days working with Liverpool. The couldn’t have done any more—they were superb and professional throughout—but then it comes down to the player’s decision.
“At the point we’re out of the loop, it’s all between the player and Liverpool, and when it became clear he wasn’t going to be joining Liverpool we had to go into a different mode. We had to protect our own interests, which is the player, and we did that, so now Moises is on to the next step in his career.”
Unlike in American sports where it is standard practice for clubs to trade players with their contracts intact, in football a transferred player negotiates a new deal with the buying club—and his agent typically gets a commission for negotiating it rather than a percentage of the player’s future wages.
This leads to greater player power regarding where they will sign, but it can also lead to agents whose primary motivation is to maximize the number of new deals their agents sign and to agitate for transfers that may not always be in the best interest of their clients’ long-term career prospects.
From a career perspective there likely wasn’t a wrong choice for this player in this transfer, but between Chelsea’s promised eight-plus year deal and an unlikely to be reported but likely excessive agent fee, Liverpool were in the end simply a tool to get a bigger payday for Caicedo and his agent.