Manchester United are making progress in their efforts to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres this summer.
What’s the story?
The Red Devils are thought to be prioritising a new centre-back partner for club captain Harry Maguire over the current window, with the Spain international high up on their priority list.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are going all out to strengthen their backline ahead of next season, and there’s a growing belief that a deal for Torres can be reached.
Victor Lindelof upgrade
United were reportedly impressed with the 6 ft 3 gem as he helped the Yellow Submarines secure the Europa League crown via a penalty shootout victory.
Torres was named on a five-man shortlist as Solskjaer aims to bring in an upgrade on Victor Lindelof, and departing chief executive Ed Woodward can deliver such an upgrade by getting a deal over the line.
While the two defenders record similar statistics in the defensive third, it’s clear Torres is more comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Lindelof, on the other hand, only attempted to bring the ball out from the back on four occasions and did so successfully just twice.
With the ability to play out from the back and kickstart attacking moves a key asset for a modern-day centre-back at the highest level, it’s easy to understand United’s interest in Torres.
The youngster has a £51.5 million buyout clause in his contract at El Madrigal after signing an extension until 2024 two years ago, meaning he should be within United’s budget.
Real Madrid recently rejected a £50m offer for Raphael Varane from the Red Devils, although the World Cup winner is vastly more experienced and proven at the highest level than Torres.
He was once described as a “sensational kid” by one of his former coaches in an interview with The Athletic, and his humble nature should make for an easy transition to life at Old Trafford if United do complete this signing.
His left-footed nature makes Torres an ideal candidate to partner Maguire for many years to come, and the pair could form a dream duo at the heart of United’s defence.