The Lowdown: Chelsea’s interest in Rice
It is no secret that the Blues hold an interest in Rice, their former youth player, with the Daily Mail detailing that they have previously made attempts to bring him back to Stamford Bridge.
However, with the West Ham United captain contracted until at least 2024, any deal would be an expensive one, with his manager David Moyes claiming earlier this year that £100m would be ‘cheap‘ for the 23-year-old.
As such, Potter could turn his attention elsewhere, with his former Brighton protégé Caicedo now emerging as another option.
The Latest: Caicedo instead?
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Jones claimed that the Chelsea manager’s history of working with the 21-year-old may tempt him into opting for the Ecuadorian instead of Rice.
The journalist said: “Potter might prefer Caicedo, having worked with him. I can’t really account for what the manager himself has in his head but, you know, Graham Potter’s position by the end of the season might be in doubt.”
The Verdict: Get it done?
Caicedo clearly has bags of talent, as he has routinely displayed with Brighton since breaking into the first team. He has registered an average of 2.72 tackles per 90 over the past year, placing him in the 84th percentile compared to his positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues.
That said, Potter shouldn’t let his previous relationship with the player hold sway when it comes to his decision about who to sign, as he does not need to have worked with Rice to see his evident quality, with the Englishman ranking in the 95th percentile among midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues in 2022 for his 90.3% pass completion rate.
Despite only being 23, Rice has already made 185 appearances in the Premier League and therefore is far more experienced than Caicedo, who has just 24 to his name. That would appear to make the West Ham star the better prospective signing for Chelsea, even if he does cost more than the minimum £60m fee associated with Brighton’s ‘baller‘, as Caicedo was dubbed by BT Sport’s Jules Breach.