What Alex Moreno said on Villa move, Emery influence on decision

Aston Villa’s latest signing Alex Moreno has opened up on his move to the club, and has provided insight on the influential role Unai Emery played to convince him.

The 29-year-old enjoyed an excellent spell at Real Betis after joining them in 2019, establishing himself as one of the top left-backs in La Liga while helping them to Copa del Rey success last season.

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In addition to his defensive work, Moreno contributed six goals and 14 assists in 122 appearances for Betis, and looking at his overall impact for them, it’s not a surprise as to why he attracted interest from us.

Now though, he begins a new chapter in his career at Villa, and with the expectation that he will now have a key role to play under Emery, it will be fascinating to see how he settles in his new team and goes on to have a big impact on our play.

Moreno revealed that Emery was pivotal in convincing him to make the move, which is unsurprising in fairness given that this is very much now the Spaniard’s project, with his influence on the philosophy and style of play we now adopt likely to be reflected in new signings who will fit his ideas moving forward.

“Unai contacted me and he spoke about wanting me to come here as there was a project he was building,” he told Villa TV. “He wanted me to come here as I was an important piece, and for me to come here and play in the Premier League.

“From that point, I told my agents, I communicated this to them as I was interested, that it was a very, very, very exciting project. So, from there I left them to it, I focused on Betis and then it started to progress, and everything went quite quickly. And today I’m very, very happy to be here.

“I’m very happy, I’m up for it and I’m excited, especially to keep growing. Personally, as well as collectively, at the club.”

Further, Moreno went on to outline what strengths he brings to the Villa squad as we have certainly now bolstered our options on the left side.

Lucas Digne will face significant competition for that starting role at left-back, and while there is the possibility that both could play together on the left flank on occasion against certain opposition, the expectation is that they will be battling over that specific spot for the most part with Moreno perhaps given the edge with his attacking qualities.

“I am a person who’s a team player, a person who wants to win, someone who doesn’t like to lose, wants to always aspire for more,” he added. “I want to keep fighting for the objectives of the club at the end of the day, which is to be as high (in the table) as possible.

“I am a very ambitious person, I won’t settle for less (than what’s expected). I want to keep growing.

“And, personally, I am a person who is fast, a fast player, I like to go on the attack. Mainly, my speed, my attacking, getting to the byline one-on-one and more. So, my speed and running into spaces are my skills.”

It remains to be seen if he’s available to face Leeds Utd on Friday night as we raced to get the relevant clearance ahead of the deadline, but even if his debut is delayed by a week, there is real excitement over what Moreno can bring to this Villa team.

With his pace, technical quality, aggressive and positive style of play, he’ll hope to have a big influence on us in both phases of the game, and so it’s hoped that he can adapt well and become an integral part of what Emery is trying to build at the club.

As for Emery himself, he’ll likely be delighted to have been able to bring a top target in, and that will no doubt help him continue to stamp his mark on the side and get them playing the way he wants us to.