Liverpool have agreed a British record transfer fee of £111m with Brighton for midfielder Moises Caicedo.
After Brighton rejected a succession of bids from Chelsea, it remains to be seen whether the Blues will now match that amount.
Brighton had set a fee in excess of £100m for Caicedo and had said they felt no-one would reach it.
However, Liverpool have now done that, which leaves the 21-year-old Ecuador international free to go for a medical.
Liverpool lost midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to the Saudi Pro League last month but signed Caicedo’s Brighton team-mate Alexis Mac Allister in June for £35m.
Former Reds captain Henderson, 33, joined Al-Ettifaq in a deal worth £12m plus add-ons, while 29-year-old Brazilian Fabinho switched to Al-Ittihad for £40m.
Speaking on Friday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “I got told I can confirm a deal with [Brighton] is agreed.
“What did change is that we are a club with not endless resources, so things we didn’t expect, a couple of things happening in the summer [Henderson and Fabinho], stuff like this.
“We didn’t think about that before the summer, to be honest and when it happened, we gave it a go and obviously, the club was really stretched there, to be honest.”
Klopp said he “didn’t know” whether Caicedo was due on Merseyside for a medical on Friday and added he was not sure whether this would be the Reds’ final business in the transfer window.
The fee agreed for Caicedo exceeds the £107m Chelsea paid for Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez earlier this year. The Seagulls would also profit if Caicedo is sold by Liverpool because of a sell-on clause in his contract.
Caicedo joined Brighton from Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle for £4m in February 2021 although he did not make his Premier League debut until April 2022.
He asked to leave Brighton in the January transfer window earlier this year. Arsenal then had multiple offers turned down for Caicedo before the player signed a new contract with the Seagulls until 2027 in March.
Klopp has been looking at various options to rebuild his squad after they finished fifth in the Premier League last season and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
However, the price they are prepared to pay for Caicedo comes as a surprise, as in In April, the club said they would not make a move for England midfielder Jude Bellingham because of the money involved.
The 20-year-old later joined Real Madrid in a deal that could reach 133.9m euros (£115m).
Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia, 19, has also been on Klopp’s list of potential transfers, but the Reds have seen three bids rejected by the Saints, who reportedly value the Belgian at £50m.
While all the noise was around Chelsea’s efforts to sign Caicedo, it is understood Reds chief executive Billy Hogan worked quietly behind the scenes to get this deal in place.
Brighton had a figure they wanted for Caicedo – someone they believe could go on to become one of the world’s best – and Hogan’s approach allowed Liverpool to get there.
It left Chelsea out-negotiated and out-manoeuvred and may deliver to Klopp one of the most exciting talents in the Premier League – albeit at a fee that reflects that.
Klopp has spoken previously about the huge sums of money involved in transfers and the implications it might have for the future of football.
In 2016, the German questioned spending £100m on a player after Manchester United re-signed France midfielder Paul Pogba for a then world record £89m.
“The day that this is football, I’m not in a job any more, because the game is about playing together,” Klopp said.
“Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players. I want to do it differently.
“I would even do it differently if I could spend that money.”
When asked about those comments during his news conference before Sunday’s game against Chelsea, Klopp said: “Everything changed. Do I like it? No. Did I realise I was wrong? Yes.
“I’m not blaming anyone but it’s just the market. In the end, we as a club have to make sure that, with our resources, we get the best possible player.
“We aren’t in a dreamland and can’t just point at a player and get them to come in. Sometimes one door closes and another opens up.
“I said that day what I thought and now I realise I was wrong. Easy to admit that.”
In April, Klopp compared talk of big-money transfers with “a five-year-old asking for a Ferrari for Christmas”.
“We cannot have six players in a summer, everyone for £100m,” he said.
“What we need and what we want, we try absolutely everything to get it, but there are moments when you have to accept that this or that is not possible for us – you step aside and do different stuff.”
With Arsenal spending £105m on England midfielder Declan Rice and Klopp in desperate need of reinforcements, Liverpool have joined the clubs willing to go above the £100m mark in order to secure a top player.
Record-breaking Lamine Yamal now worth €1 billion at 16 years of age
Lamine Yamal is now worth €1 billion (£866m/$1bn) at just 16 years of age, with Barcelona inserting a huge release clause in his new contract.
The talented teenager, who has continued to rewrite the record books at Camp Nou and with the Spain national team, has committed to fresh terms through to 2026. Barca have moved to ensure that they will remain the ones to benefit from Yamal’s undoubted potential.
Barca have said on the club’s official website: “Lamine Yamal has whizzed up through the youth ranks and is regarded as one of the hottest properties to come out of La Masia in recent years.
He was just 15 years, 9 months and 16 days old when he made his league debut against Betis on 29 April 2023, making him the youngest player ever to appear in a competitive fixture for the team. Xavi Hernandez has gradually been using his services more and more, and after joining the squad for its preseason tour, he become the youngest ever starter for FC Barcelona in a game against Cadiz this season, and against Royal Antwerp he became the second youngest player ever to appear in the competition.
And despite his youth, he has already won his first international cap for Spain. In a game against Georgia he not only became the youngest player ever to play for ‘La Roja’, but also the youngest ever goalscorer.”
Yamal is following in some illustrious footsteps after stepping out of the famed La Masia academy system – with fellow graduates including Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Carles Puyol and Pep Guardiola.
Barca have made a habit of tying hot prospects to deals with mammoth release clauses – having had their fingers burned when Paris Saint-Germain triggered a €222m (£192m/$234m) option on Neymar’s contract back in 2017 – with similar terms having been thrashed out with the likes of Ansu Faiti, Pedri and Gavi.
Sports Ministry Will Prioritise Funding For All Sports – Minister Enoh
The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has reiterated that his administration prioritizes the funding of sports in the country, as the Ministry will work with all sports federations to determine focus areas, through budgetary submissions.
The Minister made this known during a briefing with pressmen in Asaba, the host city of the 7th National Youth Games. He stated that his experience in this area, while serving as the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation (Federal House of Representatives) led him to proactively direct on the necessary steps to take for the proper funding of sports in the country.
“The only way to provide for the proper funding of sports is to look at the number of federations, an itemization of their peculiar activities, and to provide as needed,” Senator Enoh said. “For example, if in 2024, a particular sport will undertake pieces of training, and participate in competitions (both local and international), the only way to solve the incident problem of lack of funds, athletes missing out on competitions because of finances, is to provide for all of these ahead of time,” he added.
“As much as possible, I am going to push for this to be done, because it is the only way that we can properly budget for sports development. The ministry is desirous of making credible progress in this regard,” The Honourable Minister concluded.
Man United fans fly ‘Glazers Out’ banner over Tampa NFL stadium
A group of Manchester United supporters based in the United States have flown a banner reading “Glazers Out” over the Raymond James Stadium in Florida.
The banner was seen over the stadium ahead of the Monday Night Football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — the NFL franchise owned by the Glazer family, who also own Premier League giants United.
The banner was organised by Manchester United supporters groups based in Pittsburgh and Tampa. Footage of the plane and its message was shared online before the match, which the Eagles won 25-11.
The move is the latest protest against United’s owners by fans who are keen for them to sell the club.
The Glazer family, who have owned United since 2005, announced last November they were considering “all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions.”
This led to bids being lodged by prospective buyers, but despite receiving several offers, the Glazer family are still yet to make a final decision on whether to sell their stake in the club.
United have failed to win the Premier League since legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, with their last Champions League success coming in 2008.
Former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag was appointed as the club’s new head coach last year. United won the Carabao Cup in Ten Hag’s first season in charge and reached the FA Cup final while securing Champions League football with a third-place finish in the league.
However, United have endured a difficult start to the new season, losing three out of their first six Premier League games.
The United manager’s problems have been exacerbated by several off-field issues.
Brazil winger Antony has agreed to a leave of absence from the club in order to address accusations of abuse made by three women, while fellow winger Jadon Sancho is training away from the first team group following a public spat with the Dutch head coach.
Forward Marcus Rashford walked away unhurt after being involved in a car crash following United’s 1-0 win over Burnley on Saturday.
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