Aston Villa star seeks exit for bigger challenge, willing to take pay cut

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Alex Moreno, the Spanish left-back who joined Aston Villa in January 2023, is reportedly "desperate" to secure a return to his former club, Real Betis. The 31-year-old, who made the £13.3 million move to Villa Park, has found himself struggling for playing time under manager Unai Emery, despite the club's impressive fourth-place finish and qualification for the Champions League.

Moreno's first season at Aston Villa saw him accumulate 1,334 Premier League minutes, but the 2023/24 campaign proved to be a challenging one for the former Rayo Vallecano player.

His playing time significantly decreased to just 1,027 minutes, as Lucas Digne solidified his position as the starting left-back. Additionally, injuries played a role in limiting Moreno's opportunities to compete for a starting role.

According to reports from Spanish outlet Estadio Deportivo, Moreno is homesick and eager to return to Real Betis. The left-back is reportedly willing to accept a substantial pay cut to facilitate a move back to La Liga, highlighting his strong desire to rejoin his former club.

While Moreno's departure would leave Emery with another position to fill in the transfer market, it could be advantageous for Aston Villa. The club needs to generate funds before the end of June to adhere to the Premier League's profit and sustainability rules, and Emery is likely to prefer players who are fully committed to his ambitious project at Villa Park.

Real Betis are reportedly interested in bringing Moreno back to the club, but financial limitations could prove to be an obstacle. Aston Villa would need to offer a favourable deal for the transfer to be viable, as Real Betis may have difficulty affording Moreno's current wages.

However, with Aston Villa's director Monchi in the market for a new left-back, a mutually beneficial agreement could potentially be reached.

As Unai Emery aims to build on Aston Villa's success and prepares for the challenges of the Champions League, the future of Alex Moreno remains uncertain.

Moreno's homesickness and longing for a return to Real Betis have created an interesting situation for both clubs involved. It remains to be seen whether a deal can be struck that benefits all parties, allowing Moreno to reunite with his former club while enabling Aston Villa to generate funds and focus on players fully committed to Emery's vision for the future.