Caicedo comes good

The Ecuador international stands seventh in the scoring charts in the Spanish Primera Division with 11 goals in 19 appearances, a return that has helped to keep Levante clear of the relegation places, writes Craig Saunders.

He is a forgotten man in Eastlands, not considered part of Roberto Mancini's blue revolution, but striker Felipe Caicedo is doing his best to prove his critics in England wrong.

The Manchester City striker is currently on loan at Levante and his performances have caught the eye of a number of European clubs.

The Ecuador international struggled to make an impact after being signed by Mark Hughes in the 2008 January transfer window for GBP5.2 million, scoring seven goals in 35 appearances. However, Caicedo, 22, has found a new lease of life in Spain with Levante after low-key loan spells at Malaga and Sporting Lisbon.

Caicedo stands seventh in the scoring charts in the Spanish Primera Division with 11 goals in 19 appearances, a return that has helped to keep Levante clear of the relegation places. Consequently, Caicedo has been linked with a string of clubs, the latest being Lokomotiv Moscow, which is reportedly willing to pay GBP3 million for the striker's services.

Despite the interest of other teams, Caicedo is only concerned with the continued success of his current side. “For now, I just want to think about helping Levante stay up and then we will see what happens,” he said.

Caicedo, who started his professional career in Switzerland at Basle after moving from his native Ecuador at 17, does harbour dreams of playing in Italy. He specifically aspires to line up at the San Siro for either AC Milan or Inter Milan.

He said: “I have many friends at AC Milan. I know Robinho very well and (Kevin-Prince) Boateng. I would also like to wear the jersey of Inter Milan.”

Levante has made no attempt to hide the fact that it would like to make Caicedo's loan move permanent, which is hardly a surprise given how well he has fared so far in Valencia.

The Granotes, though, could struggle to afford Caicedo and the player himself is yet to talk up his chances of remaining at the Ciutat de Valencia. He will certainly have no trouble finding another club, especially after making such an impact in La Liga.

What is even more impressive about arguably the second-best player to come out of Ecuador behind Manchester United's Antonio Valencia, is his shot-to-goal ratio. He may not test the goalkeeper very often, but when he does he is clinical in front of goal.

His 10th goal of the season in Levante's 2-1 win over Osasuna came from only his 23rd shot this season. Not even that, though, is likely to be enough to persuade leading City officials that he deserves a second chance in English football. Not when Mancini has attacking talent like Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez at his disposal and has an almost bottomless transfer kitty to call upon.

Not that Caicedo has any bad feelings towards the club that deemed him surplus to requirements. “I don't wish to say anything to Roberto Mancini, other than to wish him luck during his time in England,” he said.

City's loss has been Levante's gain.

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