Moises Caicedo has claimed he picked Chelsea over Liverpool because of Mauricio Pochettino in a new interview.
The Caicedo transfer saga was one of the stories of the summer. Liverpool, famously, had a bid of over £100m accepted by Brighton, only for the defensive midfielder to reject a move to Anfield and hold out for Chelsea, who had been stalling on meeting the Seagulls' asking price.
Ultimately, Chelsea stumped up the cash, securing the deal, while also signing the Reds' backup target Romeo Lavia from Southampton for £58m.
At the time, it appeared an embarrassing episode for Liverpool, who were left scrambling for midfield options in the final stages of the transfer window.
However, the players they eventually did sign after the Caicedo failure – Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch – have so far proved shrewd (and much cheaper) purchases.
As for why the Ecuador international chose Stamford Bridge over Anfield, Caicedo has insisted that he was shown 'love' by the Blues, while playing up the importance of his ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking manager Pochettino.
The 22-year-old told Telemundo: "I wanted to come here because they had shown me that they really loved me. It was something very nice for me, I decided quickly and said yes. [Mauricio Pochettino] speaks my language and my relationship with him is easier. It's very good.
"It was a little easier to join here. He is watching over us. More than all, I was the last one to arrive. I didn't have a good preseason, he has protected me and I value that."
Liverpool a 'more stable project'
Earlier this season, Caicedo's agent, Manuel Sierra, admitted that Liverpool offered a 'more stable project' than Chelsea.
"Liverpool was always interested in Moi," Sierra said. "The truth is, we had meetings during those months from January to May. But after May, we never heard anything more.
"The first thing we were told is, 'Tomorrow, you have to go to Liverpool for a medical.'
"Of course, what's our reaction going to be if we haven't negotiated, haven't talked, haven't seen anything at all?
"In the end, it's very complicated. Imagine that you're being written to and called by Jurgen Klopp, that Liverpool is calling you.
"We're talking about something really big, one of the best teams in the world, just like Chelsea. Well, with a more established and stable project than what Chelsea has today, which is a very ambitious project looking ahead to two years.
"So, when Liverpool comes and approaches you in that way, obviously Moises gets dizzy, I even get dizzy myself, and he says, 'Man, we must be doing something right, you know.'"
Caicedo has largely struggled to recreate his Brighton form in his first months at Chelsea, who are languishing in 12th place in the Premier League table.
By contrast, the Reds sit on top – 18 points ahead of Chelsea – with Klopp enjoying the last laugh in the saga.
Speaking at the Anfield Road test event this week, Klopp joked with fans during a Q&A: “The summer we had, we had a few strange things happen in the transfer market but here, between us, I can say my God, were we lucky, eh?”