Since arriving to take the reins at Aston Villa in October, Spanish manager Unai Emery has been something of a revelation, winning five of the seven Premier League matches in the dugout and making shrewd moves to bolster the squad in the ongoing January transfer window.
With Steven Gerrard dismissed from his duties in October after a damaging 3-0 defeat to newly-promoted Fulham, the Claret & Blue hierarchy had decided to sever ties with the former Liverpool legend and prise Emery away from Villarreal; a manoeuvre that has thus far been a resounding success.
Villa have fallen to Manchester United in the Carabao Cup and, more ignominiously, Stevenage in the FA Cup, but have won five of the seven league matches with Emery in the dugout, with the only defeat coming against Liverpool.
The promising early signs have been fortified by the acquisitions of left-back Alex Moreno and young forward Jhon Duran, with a further offensive bid looking likely before the conclusion of the ongoing January transfer window, but with recent information brought to light concerning Calum Chambers’ role in the squad, a defender might also be targeted.
With Chambers indeed considered expendable, Villa technical director Johan Lange would be wise to revisit the rumours linking Emery’s former Villarreal favourite Pau Torres to the club as a replacement, with the coveted colossus likely to represent a monumental upgrade for the Villan backline, with 90min linking the outfit to what be a seismic transfer a few weeks ago.
Having made 156 appearances for the Yellow Submarine, including 105 under his former Spaniard head coach, Torres has exhibited his “extraordinary” nature – as labelled by his former coach Javi Calleja – and could indeed rise to stand as one of the Premier League’s most salient defenders if given a starring role in the Midlands.
And having won the 2020/21 Europa League under Emery’s leadership, the opportunity to rekindle the relationship could be a factor that swings the odds in the favour of Villa Park.
As per FBref, the 26-year-old ranks within the top 5% for dribbles completed and the top 16% for progressive passes when compared to centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues – and with this in mind, the potential to bolster the collective fluidity and offensive drive from the heart of the Villan outfit could prove to be a catalyst for impactful change.
While landing a player of Torres’ calibre might appear to be fruitful thinking for many of the Villa faithful, it would embody the progressive transition that appears to be remoulding the clay at the ambitious Midlands outfit, and could indeed be a watershed moment for a football club striving to return to former glory and clinch silverware once again.