David Sullivan must sanction a £5.5million January transfer bid for Independiente del Valle’s Moises Caicedo, who could be David Moyes’ next Declan Rice at West Ham United.
According to the Daily Record, the Irons have submitted an inquiry over the young Ecuador international as they look to contend with Manchester United for his signature.
Caicedo’s high-energy and aggressive pressing is seen as the perfect addition to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred game plan at Old Trafford, while fitting seamlessly with Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward’s vision for a “cultural reboot”.
The 19-year-old set two records when he scored during Ecuador’s 4-2 win over Uruguay in October, to become the youngest-ever goalscorer for his country and the first player born in the 21st-century to net in a CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying fixture.
Independiente are said to value Caicedo at €6m (£5.5m) and would demand a 20 per cent sell-on clause should he leave in the upcoming January window, having tied the skilful midfield titan down to a new four-year contract after a handful of approaches this summer.
West Ham and Manchester United are offering the official line that they will only be active in the mid-season market if the right deal presents itself, while Caicedo would be expected to favour a move to Old Trafford.
The teen brute recently named the Red Devils as his favourite club and praised Paul Pogba as a player he draws inspiration from, alongside Chelsea and France star N’Golo Kante.
West Ham stepping up their interest in Caicedo from an official inquiry to a formal bid could see Sullivan deliver Moyes his next Rice, and lock up the future of the Hammers’ midfield in case Chelsea return with a new approach for the Irons’ England international.
Frank Lampard’s side baulked at West Ham’s £80m asking price for Rice in the summer and could face competition from Manchester United, after the Red Devils were touted to be considering the West Ham captain as they begin targeting four signings to complete a squad overhaul.
Moyes will be irate if the east Londoners lose Rice without having a ready-made replacement in store, having called on the 21-year-old as one of four players to play all 1,170 minutes in the Premier League thus far this season.
Caicedo may not yet have any Premier League experience but may be Moyes’ answer, as the four-time Ecuador international has already established himself as a central figure for Independiente in their domestic and Copa Libertadores campaigns with six goals and two assists in 30 senior games.
His box-to-box exploits have also seen Caicedo lauded as a well-rounded and remarkably complete player by Scouted Football, who note the 19-year-old brings a mature level to his passing as he recycles possession or plays ambitious balls to progress play.
Those words are reflected in his output, too, with Caicedo recording a 100% accuracy rating with 2.2 long balls a game in the 2020 Copa Libertadores alongside 29.3 total passes, 1.0 key balls, 1.0 successful tackles, 3.3 duels won and 0.7 shots, per SofaScore.