Left-back was something of a problem position for Liverpool last season. An injury to Jose Enrique left Brendan Rodgers without any natural replacement in that position, meaning the inexperienced Jon Flanagan, a very limited Aly Cissokho and the Reds’ first-choice right-back Glen Johnson all took turns plugging the gap throughout the campaign.
So it’s no surprise that the Reds are pursuing another left-back, and Sevilla President Jose Castro has confirmed the Merseyside club’s interest remains in his team's 21-year-old starlet, Alberto Moreno.
Speaking with Spanish newspaper ABC (h/t talkSPORT), Castro has told Liverpool that Moreno is theirs, providing they meet the Andalusians' asking price, which is reportedly £25 million:
It's true that there is interest from a number of clubs, above all Liverpool, in him, but we haven't had proper conversations about selling him. Signing any player from this club has a price and we will decide that price.
If Alberto Moreno has to stay at the club he will stay but if a club pays the amount we think is big enough for him to leave, he will leave. But there is no pressure.
We haven't reached an agreement, but talks haven't broken down. We'll wait and see what happens. If Liverpool are interested in the player and pay the right amount, he will be sold.
Moreno has impressed with some blistering displays this season, helping Sevilla to glory in the Europa League. Naturally, his displays caught the attention of some of Europe’s most illustrious clubs, and he had been heavily linked with a move to Merseyside before negotiations between the two clubs reportedly stalled, per Ben Jefferson of the Express.
His current employers have already offloaded Ivan Rakitic to Barcelona, so they are under no pressure to sell Moreno for a cut-price deal, and with Tottenham also rumoured to be interested in the player, per the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel, his price could creep up if Liverpool don't tie up a deal quickly.
Bleacher Report writer Aleksandar Holiga thinks a fee upward of €22 million for the player is a little excessive, especially when you consider how much Sevilla sold Rakitic for:
Barca can get Rakitic for €20M, while Liverpool are to pay €22M for Alberto Moreno. Something's not right.— Aleksandar Holiga (@AlexHoliga) June 6, 2014
But it’s easy to see why Sevilla rate Moreno so highly. He’s quick, a powerful runner, a threat going forward and very astute defensively. Here’s how he compared to some of the Premier League’s best left-backs last season:
|Apps (Sub)||Goals||Assists||Accurate Crosses||Avg Tackles|
|Alberto Moreno||27 (2)||3||0||0.6||1.8|
|Cesar Azpiliceuta||26 (3)||0||0||0.4||3.4|
Liverpool are rumoured to be looking at other targets in that position too, with Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez also reportedly in the mix, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail. He’s also 21 and enjoyed a fine campaign at the Volkswagen Arena last season.
Moreno is a better fit for Liverpool, though. Especially when you consider the style of play that Rodgers was looking to implement last season: intense, aggressive, sharp and hungry.
Rodgers, who was agonisingly close to guiding Liverpool to the title last season, has insisted he only wants to bring in players who have those attributes to spearhead another tilt at glory, per the Liverpool Echo (h/t Charles Perrin of the Express):
We want to bring in players who are hungry. They must have the ambition to want to come in and succeed here. We need players who there can be no doubts about their quality.
We're in a position now where we're going straight into the group stage of the Champions League and we’re going into the Premier League next season with an expectation and a belief that we can win the league.
These are all qualities that Moreno has in abundance, and although £25 million may seem excessive for a player who has no Premier League experience, that kind of sum is the going rate for the continent's top young players in the modern game.
Here's a taste of what Moreno could bring to Merseyside:
Getting a new left-back on board will surely be Rodgers’ main priority throughout the course of the transfer window, and with other clubs sniffing round Moreno, the Reds should move quickly to secure a deal, especially after the Andalusian club's president has declared in public that he is looking to sell the player.