By Jonty Banks

4th May, 2023 | 8:10pm

Alex Moreno an irreplaceable asset at Aston Villa amid worrying Manchester City and Chelsea transfer news

Alex Moreno has settled into life at Aston Villa like a duck to water, but his exploits under Unai Emery have caught the attention of two Premier League giants.

The 29-year-old, who Villa signed from Real Betis for £13.3million in the January transfer window, has quickly cemented his position in the first-team ahead of Lucas Digne with a string of superb performances at left-back.

However, the Villa hierarchy must now keep one eye over their shoulders, with both Manchester City and Chelsea interested in signing the Spaniard this summer.

The report from Foot Mercato (3 May) claims that City boss Pep Guardiola knows Moreno from his time with the Barcelona youth team, and the defender’s great performances since arriving in England have “opened great doors” for this summer.

Despite only being an Aston Villa player for just over three months, a lucrative move to the cash-rich Chelsea or Guardiola’s potential treble-winning side would be tempting for any player.

Aston Villa must do all they can to keep Moreno, who has quickly become as irreplaceable a player as any at Villa Park, and prove to him that the project under Emery is worthwhile.

When comparing Moreno to Chelsea’s two current left-back options, Marc Cucurella and Ben Chilwell, as well as Nathan Ake, who has often played on the left side of defence for City this term, the Villa ace’s attacking quality is evident.

So far this season, Moreno has recorded the most amount assists (3) from the least amount of games, as well as producing more key passes (1.3) than Ake (0.3), Cucurella (0.3) and England international Chilwell (0.7). [WhoScored]

Elsewhere, the former Real Betis man tally’s the most shots on goal per game (0.8) as well as the highest number of dribbles out of the four (1.8 per game).

According to the Opta-powered stats at FBREF, over the last year, out of every full-back in the top five European leagues, Moreno is in the 96th percentile of players for progressive carries (3.87) and the top 20% of his counterparts for progressive passes received (6.16 per 90) and successful take-ons (1.24 per 90).

Moreno’s attacking qualities have been well documented, and in an Aston Villa side that alters their tactical framework to allow the Spaniard to bomb forward, it is the perfect match.

Villa are unlikely to find a left-back who would suit Emery’s system as well as Moreno, and they simply can’t afford to lose him this summer.

In other Aston Villa news, the Villans have been backed to complete one major deal in the summer after an update from Fabrizio Romano.