Manchester United are leading the race to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres, according to a report from Spanish outlet AS (via Sport Witness).
The lowdown: Hot property
A rising star in Spain, the center-back has previously attracted major attention from Chelsea and Tottenham following a string of impressive performances for Unai Emery’s side.
The 25-year-old was at the heart of the team which won the Europa League last year, having overcome United on penalties in the final, and also played every minute as the La Liga outfit reached the Champions League semi-finals this time around before being eliminated by Liverpool.
With Erik ten Hag now in situ in Manchester and the summer transfer window drawing near, the Red Devils could be well-positioned to land Torres…
The latest: United lead Torres transfer race
As per AS, translated by Sport Witness, United are believed to be ‘best placed’ to sign the 17-cap Spain international.
The report claimed that the Red Devils’ rivals Manchester City and Liverpool ‘should not be ruled out’ of the pursuit for the 25-year-old, who was once hailed as an ‘amazing’ player by Emery before stating that the defender was destined to play among Europe’s elite.
It is also claimed that Tottenham remain in the picture to sign Torres, whose ‘intention is to leave’ Villarreal during the off-season.
How many signings do Man Utd need to make this summer?
The verdict: Definite upgrade
Despite the rich defensive pickings on paper within the United squad, both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick struggled to settle on a permanent center-back partnership as the Red Devils shipped a whopping 57 league goals in 2021/22, the same tally that they scored .
From a defensive point of view, only David de Gea came out of the campaign having performed to his usual standards, and the Spanish goalkeeper would no doubt welcome the addition of his £ 45m-valued compatriot to firm up the Red Devils’ backline.
In 2021/22, Torres earned a 6.86 average WhoScored rating from his 33 La Liga outings, higher than any of Harry Maguire (6.65), Raphael Varane (6.78), Eric Bailly (6.28) and Victor Lindelof (6.50) could manage in the Premier League.
Bearing a stylistic resemblance to illustrious defenders such as Joel Matip, Leonardo Bonucci and Gerard Pique and ranking in the top 1% of European center-backs in terms of dribbles completed (FBRef), the Spaniard appears to possess the defensive acumen and ball-playing ability which would make him the ideal man to strengthen Ten Hag’s squad at the back.
In other news, Man Utd are also interested in one South American youngster, read more here