Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign Ecuador midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton & Hove Albion, according to media reports on Sunday which said the fee would be a British record.
Sky Sports reported that Chelsea will pay 115 million pounds ($145.98 million), eclipsing the previous mark set when they bought Enzo Fernandez from Benfica for 106.8 million in January.
It added that Caicedo would sign an eight-year contract, with the Blues paying 100 million plus 15 million in add-ons.
Chelsea had to increase their bid for Caicedo several times but eventually clinched a deal after Liverpool had also reached an agreement with Brighton reported at 111 million pounds.
The 21-year-old Caicedo still had four years to run on his Brighton contract but told the club he wished to leave and made it clear he wanted to go to Stamford Bridge rather than Anfield.
He signed for Brighton in February 2021 for a reported fee of 4.5 million pounds ($5.71 million) and was loaned to Belgian club Beerschot in August that year.
He was recalled by Brighton in January 2022 after 14 appearances in Belgium. Under coach Roberto De Zerbi, Caicedo blossomed in midfield last season.
Chelsea are also looking to strengthen their forward line under new boss Mauricio Pochettino after suffering injuries and key departures including Kai Havertz who signed for Arsenal and Christian Pulisic who left for Serie A side AC Milan.
The club’s new French striker Christopher Nkunku, brought in for around 60 million pounds ($76.16 million), will be out for a “prolonged period” after having surgery on a knee injury.
Chelsea, who finished 12th last season, began their Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool on Sunday.