Caicedo joins Chelsea for $146M as Ward-Prowse moves to West Ham

LONDON (AP) — Central midfielders continue to be in big demand in the Premier League.
Moises Caicedo chose to join Chelsea — and not Liverpool — on Monday for a fee worth up to 115 million pounds ($146 million), a record for a British club, while fellow midfielder James Ward-Prowse sealed his immediate return to England’s top division by ending a 20-year association with relegated Southampton to join West Ham.
West Ham is using the money the club received last month for selling Declan Rice, another midfielder, to Arsenal for a reported 105 million pounds ($138 million), which was a British record until being broken by Caicedo’s move.
Ward-Prowse joined West Ham for 30 million pounds ($38 million), days after Mexico international Edson Alvarez moved from Ajax for 38 million euros ($41.9 million).
“When I think about my game, it is based on hard work, graft, and giving 100%,” Ward-Prowse said after signing a four-year deal. “West Ham United has always been a club that has epitomized that.”
Liverpool reached agreement with Brighton last week over a fee for Caicedo, reportedly 110 million pounds ($140 million), but he preferred to move to Chelsea, which had made offers for the 21-year-old Ecuador midfielder during the offseason.
“Moises has proved himself as a standout player in European football over the past 18 months, and we are thrilled to add him to Mauricio Pochettino’s squad,” Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.
The same two clubs have been heavily linked with another defensive midfielder in Romeo Lavia, who was relegated with Southampton last season. Like with Caicedo, Lavia reportedly prefers to join Chelsea.
This offseason has also seen England midfielder Jude Bellingham move to Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund for a fee that could reach more than $139 million.
In other transfers Monday, winger Jack Harrison joined Everton on a season-long loan from Jack Harrison and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain signed for Turkish team Besiktas following his release by Liverpool.