Real Betis full-back Alex Moreno confirmed to beIN Sports France earlier this week, via quotes shared by Mundo Deportivo, that his agent has been discussing a summer move with potential suitors.
However, David Moyes would risk making a totally disastrous decision by persisting with plans to sign the 27-year-old, who TEAMtalk claimed is of interest to West Ham and Leeds as part of a group of Premier League clubs keeping tabs on his situation.
Moreno has found his status as Manuel Pellegrini’s first-choice left-back regress as the La Liga campaign has rolled on, with the Chilean starting him in Los Verdiblancos’ first 13 fixtures but only six of the following 19.
The Estadio Benito Villamarin natives are enjoying a promising campaign under the former Irons head coach, who has led the Andalusian outfit to the cusp of qualification for next season’s Europa League.
Moreno’s reduced game-time has seemingly made him a target for a summer switch to the Premier League just two years after joining Betis from Rayo Vallecano in a €7m (£6m) deal, but regaining his place in the Betis backline remains the defender’s primary focus despite his agent sounding out what interest is circulating in the former Barcelona trainee.
“It is true that they have called my agent, big clubs, but I don’t know anything,” Moreno said. “I’m focused on finishing La Liga by entering Europe with Betis and I don’t know anything else.
“My agent has told me to focus on Betis, on my own, on the games that remain. It is a matter of the agents and it is a pride that big clubs notice me.”
It remains to be seen whether West Ham are among the clubs to have contacted Moreno’s agent, but Moyes would risk making a horrible misjudgment by signing the £5.4m-rated defender, who is protected by a €40m (£34.5m) release clause on a contract running until 2024.
The Hammers boss made the right decision by not pursuing Moreno last summer when he was previously linked, having seen the full-back fall by the wayside to make way 21-year-old Juan Miranda to establish himself as Pellegrini’s favoured full-back.
Moreno’s efforts in the Spanish top flight this term would also suggest that he’d be an expensive downgrade on Moyes’ current options, as Betis would be in no position where they must sell given the time remaining on his current deal.
While Aaron Cresswell is Moyes’ most creative option with a team-high 1.4 key passes and 1.5 accurate crosses per Premier League game this season, Moreno has offered just 0.8 key balls and 0.4 accurate crosses on average in La Liga, per SofaScore.
That is also less than what Arthur Masuaku has provided, with the DR Congo international creating 0.9 goalscoring opportunities and delivering one accurate cross per game in a similar all-action role on the left-hand side on the field to the one Moreno occupies at Betis.
Moyes would need to reinvent his gameplan to share the creative burden if Moreno were to be signed this summer, as the West Ham boss would need to justify the likely sizable outlay David Sullivan would have to commit to get a deal done by starting him most weeks.