What Alex Moreno would add to Villa amid strong transfer links

Speculation continues to link Aston Villa with strong interest in Real Betis left-back Alex Moreno, and there is good reason as to why Unai Emery wants him.

As per Sevilla ABC, Villa are pushing to sign Moreno this month, but having had an initial bid rejected by the La Liga side, negotiations are said to be continuing in order to reach an agreement.

It’s added that renewal talks between the two parties have been put on hold, and so that would suggest an exit is certainly possible this month.

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It’s easy to see why Villa and Emery want to sign the 29-year-old, who has gained plenty of experience in Spain during spells with Rayo Vallecano and now Betis.

Moreno has featured 248 times for those clubs combined, and along with his defensive duties, he has contributed 15 goals and 23 assists, which shows that he can have an influence in attack with his ability to get up and down the left flank.

As we can see in the video below, not only does he have strong defensive abilities – which are of course fundamental in his role – but he has the energy, pace, technical quality and vision to be an attacking threat and can either create or score goals for himself.

That is now an integral part of any full-back’s game in today’s football, and particularly with the system that Emery wants to play, we need our full-backs pushing on, providing width and if not posing a direct threat themselves, then at least opening up spaces in the middle for others to be influential.

Moreno loves to drive forward and not just beyond the half-way line, but into the final third and the opposition box. He covers a significant amount of ground which also allows him to get back and balance his attacking flair with his defending, and he has an eye for a cross to pick players out when he gets into good positions.

Ultimately, he ticks a lot of the right boxes when it comes to what Emery wants in his side and he suits the style of play that we’re trying to implement with his high energy, technical strengths and explosive attributes. He’s also now in the peak years of his career.

Time will tell what that means for Lucas Digne and Ludwig Augustinsson if a deal is done, with the latter set to see his loan move come to an end in the summer.

As for Digne, best case scenario for him is that he will face significant competition for a starting berth. At worst, he could be replaced in the XI and that in turn raises question marks over his future as he’ll surely be unwilling to settle for a back-up role at this stage of his career.

Based on the consistency of the reports of Villa’s interest in Moreno, with the Telegraph also reporting this week that we’re in advanced talks over a deal, it seems as though we’re serious about signing the Spaniard and strengthening our options at left-back.

Emery has had a chance to assess his squad over the past two months and identify where we need to be better. Moreno could become his first new signing at Villa, and it would be a welcome addition if Emery is confident that he will improve us and help us compete at a higher level.