Brighton are in the advanced stages of a deal to sign Moises Caicedo from Independiente de Valle.
Last week reports from Ecuador suggested the 19-year-old was close to sealing a move to Manchester United.
The Ecuadorian side’s general manager has been quoted claiming “everything is closed” with a Premier League club and that they will make an announcement in the next few days.
The fee for his transfer is said to be £4.5m and the deal includes a clause that will see Independiente recoup a significant percentage of any sell-on fee.
There have also been discussions over him joining Belgian club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, who are also owned by Brighton owner Tony Bloom, on loan for the rest of the season.
With South American markets opening up to British clubs following Brexit, Caicedo had been scouted by many in the Premier League including Man Utd.
At just 19 years old, Caicedo already has four caps for Ecuador and played the majority of minutes for his club in the Copa Libertadores and Ecuadorian top-flight in 2020, so would be confident of gaining a work permit.
‘United’s loss is Brighton’s gain’
South American football expert Tim Vickery believes Manchester United will rue not following through with their interest for Caicedo.
In October, Caicedo became the first player born in the 21st century to ever score in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying with a goal in Ecuador’s 4-2 win over Uruguay.
Vickery said: “This time last week I was telling you it was going to be Man United based on what sources in Ecuador were saying. So you’ll forgive me if I refer to my default position of making a prediction after the event because they tend to be more accurate.
“But if it is Brighton, Manchester United’s loss is Brighton’s gain.
“They (Brighton) will be getting an absolutely terrific player. Independiente de Valle [are] a little club who exists in order to develop players to sell them. They bring in top-class Spanish youth coaches to develop their players.
“In 2020, you saw the good formation that Moises Caicedo had. Stepped into the first team… breeze. Stepped into international football with Ecuador… breeze. He was up against Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia and makes it look easy.
“Box-to-box midfielder, terrific athlete, cool in possession. He is not a wizard, he is not a glamourous player but has so much to offer.
“If I had enough money I would buy him myself and put him on my mantlepiece.”
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