Paul Wilkes reports on Alberto Moreno, the Sevilla starlet on the radars of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool....
The 60-second story
Rising through the ranks of his hometown club, Sevilla, Alberto Moreno has taken La Liga by storm in the last two years. His first taste of success was as a 12-year-old when he won the Danone Cup, an international tournament for kids, alongside Liverpool's Luis Alberto. He signed for the club he spent his life supporting at the age of 13, and the left-back's progression has been swift ever since.
Turning out for Sevilla Atlético, the reserve team, he was tutored by Ramón Tejada, who would rotate him between an attacking wide position and a more defensive role. It's here that he learnt to be so tactically aware, following Tejada's instructions and showing fight regardless of his deployment.
He was handed his first team debut by Míchel, when he came off the bench in a match with Athletic Bilbao in 2012. But it's under astute tactician Unai Emery that he has really thrived, as the former Valencia coach has given him the platform to advance.
After he was given a torrid time by Gareth Bale at the Bernabéu early on this season, Moreno showed his ability to adapt and learn. In the recent win over Madrid at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, there was more coherence with his team-mates as they slotted in when he was attacking.
- Date of birth: July 5, 1992
- Place of birth: Seville, Spain
- Position: Defender
- Height: 5ft 7in
- Former clubs: None
- Current club: Sevilla; 60 apps (52 starts), 3 goals
- Country: Spain; 2 apps (2 starts)
- Honours: UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2013
Knowing the Welshman would cut inside onto his favoured left foot, he stayed narrow without the ball, denying space between his centre-back and allowing Bale possession out wide. Last October he became the 37th player to debut for Spain since Vicente del Bosque took charge. There's every chance he will make the plane to Brazil as understudy to Jordi Alba – another full-back who benefited from his time working with Emery.
Why you need to know him
The youngster's emergence has seen Europe's top clubs scrambling for his signature. There's every chance he may decide the Premier League is the best destination for him and join the numerous Spaniards already plying their trade on these shores.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are all interested in him. Real Madrid are also long-term admirers and are keen to see him replace Fábio Coentrão.
His pace and dribbling skills make him look like an old-fashioned winger; he is essentially the perfect modern-day full-back. He likes to run at the opposition, committing defenders and delivering a cross. A sweet left foot means that goals are a possibility when he strikes from distance. He has three goals to his name so far this season and that's likely to improve as he matures.
Moreno can defend, but his tackling isn't his strongest attribute. The Spaniard prefers to make it difficult with his positioning and by intercepting, rather than to simply dive into tackles. At just 5ft 7in, he isn't great in the air and it's an area that opposing teams can exploit.
National team coach Vicente Del Bosque said: "We want to work like a club that looks to its youth sides. We are not absolute in this matter, but yes, we like giving opportunities to the youngsters, which harvests good results. Alberto is demonstrating to have that level and that's why we have called him up."
Did you know?
Moreno could have joined Real Madrid Castilla on a free transfer last season, but the switch was rejected by Madrid’s head of scouting Paco de Gracia, who felt that Moreno wasn’t at the required level to join los blancos’ reserve side.
What happens next?
The financial problems at Sevilla mean that sales are inevitable. Last summer saw Álvaro Negredo, Jesús Navas and Gary Medel all leave for the UK. The defender will almost certainly be sold and that's good news for the numerous teams in the hunt for a new left-back.
Shooting 7 • Heading 4 • Passing 7 • Tackling 6 • Pace 8 • Dribbling 8 • Creativity 8 • Work-rate 8 • Positioning 8