Espanyol defender Hector Moreno has turned out six times for the Barcelona-based outfit since returning from an injury sustained on World Cup 2014 duty, with the Mexico stalwart helping his team bank four clean sheets in the process.
Moreno’s steady form and fitness has alerted north London pair Arsenal and Tottenham, according to reports, with £6m bids thought to be in the offing from both Premier League top-four chasers.
It can credibly be argued that much of the reason Mexico went out to the Netherlands at the last-16 stage in Brazil was Moreno’s injury, as Miguel Herrera’s team had conceded just once in 315 minutes of World Cup football with the centre-half in the side.
Even that strike wasn’t much of a blot on El Tri’s copybook, as it was let in late on when 3-0 up against Croatia in Group A. The fact that Mexico conceded twice after Moreno’s half-time withdrawal against the Dutch, who won the tie 2-1, can hardly have been a coincidence.
Half of Europe’s elite clubs were expected to move for Moreno following the samba jamboree’s close, but with the 27-year-old’s fractured tibia keeping him on the sidelines in Catalonia until six weeks ago, bids failed to materialise.
He’s clearly fit now though, with the Gunners said to be leading the race for the former AZ man, although their neighbours may have an ace in the hole when it comes to acquiring Moreno’s paw print.
Lilywhites chief Mauricio Pochettino took Moreno from the Eredivisie to Espanyol in June 2011, and the six footer repaid his new boss’ faith by winning the Periquitos’ Player of the Season prize in his first term in La Liga.
With both Arsenal and Spurs in clear need of centre-back reinforcements, Pochettino’s prior relationship with Moreno could tip the balance in his favour.