Recent reports have seen Sunderland linked with a move for Manchester City-owned forward Marlos Moreno, with the Black Cats one of a number of Championship clubs who are believed to be keen on signing the 25-year-old.
Having returned from a recent temporary stint at KV Kortrijk in Belgium, the Colombian gem is currently training with French side Troyes – part of the City Football Group – although is keen on a stay in England this summer, having spent the past six years out on loan at clubs across the globe.
Signed by the Etihad outfit from Atletico Nacional in 2016 on a £4.75m deal, the winger – who has just a year remaining on his existing contract with Pep Guardiola’s side – is yet to feature for his parent club, with a departure, either permanently or on loan, seemingly an inevitability this summer.
Despite never managing to force his way into first-team reckoning with the Premier League champions, the £810k-rated menace has still blossomed elsewhere, notably enjoying a fine loan stint at Belgian second division side Lommel during the 2020/21 campaign, scoring six goals and providing four assists in 25 games in all competitions for the club.
That sparkling spell saw the eight-cap international lauded by journalist Sven Claes, who stated that he “was the best player of the league”, while also highlighting that the forward had so often “embarrassed” defenders with his mix of speed and trickery down the flanks.
A player with 40 goal contributions in 189 club career games thus far, the 5 foot 7 star is no doubt a real talent, with the fact having been emphasised by comparisons to Brazilian icon Neymar by South American expert Tim Vickery upon his signing for City.
He said: “There are no guarantees but not since the likes of Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Neymar have I been so enthusiastic about a young player.”
Although that high-profile move has since failed to work out, it is still telling that Moreno was likened to a player of such magnitude in Neymar, with that perhaps illustrating a talent that simply needs to be unlocked.
While he has his controversies, the Paris Saint-Germain genius is a player that any manager would likely welcome into his side, with the 30-year-old having lit up European football over the last decade or so.
The 119-cap superstar – who is the second highest scorer in his nation’s history – has netted 278 goals and provided 174 assists in 466 club career games to date across his spells at Santos, Barcelona and at the Parcs des Princes, with such figures the envy of most in the modern game.
That electric form continues even as doubts creep in regarding his long-term, playing future, having registered six goal contributions in just two games thus far for the Ligue 1 champions in the new season, with the mercurial magician a truly unique asset.
While Moreno is far from reaching such heights, for those of a Sunderland persuasion it will no doubt be intriguing that they could have a Neymar-esque figure on their hands if the player can live up to Vickery’s past claim.
That assessment would seemingly indicate that the “wonderful” gem – as dubbed by Claes – has the raw talent to be a real success at the Stadium of Light, with so much potential there to be unleashed.