News today in the Spanish papers (and with bylines from journalists who know Villarreal quite well) is that Alberto Moreno will be joining the Yellow Submarine. Moreno is a native of Sevilla, came up in their cantera, and played for two years for Sevilla’s first team before being sold to Liverpool in 2014. He played for the Reds for five years, though lost his starting job and hardly saw any action at all this year.
Jurgen Klopp said at the start of this month that Moreno would be free to leave at the end of his contract, so he can sign with Villarreal on July 1. With his arrival, we have a logjam at left back—Jaume Costa and Xavi Quintillà can also play there, as can Alberto Pedraza. My personal thought is that we will likely loan Quintillà and sell Pedraza this season, then move Jaume when Quintillà comes back the following year. But that’s just my guess.
Moreno is good going forward, but his defensive positioning was questioned in various high-profile games for Liverpool; he had a mare against his old team Sevilla in the Europa League final in 2016 (he did OK against us in the semis, though). At age 26, he should be a valuable addition to our squad.
And there was more news today, as Villarreal is making a swift end to the Rubén Semedo era with the team. Semedo is signing with Olympiakos in Greece; they are paying us €4.5m, of which 20% goes back to Sporting Lisbon. It’s a huge loss on our €14m investment, of course, but it cuts ties with an embarrassment and also gets a presumably large salary off our books.
Another player who has reportedly moved on is Javi Fuego, reported today to be signing with Sporting Gíjón. Again, the main value here is in moving his salary; with smaller revenues next year, we have to get under the La Liga salary cap requirements.
For that same reason, and also because there is no need for a larger squad given no European football this season, expect us to try to offload loanees we’ve been carrying some salary for (Semedo was one, N’Diaye is another) and move players like Victor Ruiz, whom we simply don’t need.
Oh, word is Albiol has taken his medical at Villarreal, so presumably an agreement is near.