Moises Caicedo has seemingly rejected the chance to join Liverpool and wants to move to Chelsea, despite the Reds agreeing a British-record £111m fee with Brighton.
Liverpool’s offer was accepted by Brighton after a midnight deadline for bids for the midfielder was set on Thursday. It is understood Chelsea were prepared to go to £100m for the player, and Bayern Munich were prepared to pay £90m.
However, although Caicedo was expected to travel to Liverpool for a medical on Friday, he had a change of heart and told the Reds he didn’t want to join.
He remains in London and has made it clear he only wants to leave Brighton for Chelsea, who have been pursuing him all summer.
Chelsea are yet to offer a new improved bid, and it remains to be seen whether they will.
“I have already forgotten about Moises,” Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi said. “I’m proud of the players we have in the squad. Bigger clubs can buy our players but they can’t buy our soul or spirit.”
Earlier, manager Juergen Klopp said Liverpool have reached an agreement with Brighton over the transfer of Ecuador midfielder.
“I can confirm the (Caicedo) deal with the club is agreed, whatever that means in the end. Of course, we want the player and not just the agreement,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Sunday’s season-opener at Chelsea.
“We don’t have endless resource. We didn’t expect a couple of things to happen over the summer but when that happened we gave it a go. Let’s see what happens and we go from there.”
Caicedo’s reported transfer fee would have made him the most expensive player signed by a British club, surpassing the £107 million Chelsea paid for Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez earlier this year.
In 2016, when speaking about Manchester United’s then world record signing of Paul Pogba for £89.3 million, Klopp had said he would approach transfer spending differently if he had the same resources at his disposal.
When asked how he felt about those words following the agreement for Caicedo, the German 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.”
Despite Caicedo dominating the headlines, Klopp stressed that the transfer would not overshadow their game against Chelsea.
Written with inputs from Reuters