Manchester United have been heavily linked with a move for Villarreal defender Pau Torres in recent months and if the Spaniard were to arrive at Old Trafford, it could be the perfect chance for Erik ten Hag to axe Harry Maguire.
Recent reports say that Torres’ move to Manchester is gathering pace, as the Red Devils target defensive reinforcements following a season which saw them concede 57 goals in the Premier League, more than the likes of Brighton, Brentford and relegated Burnley.
Although it is difficult to blame one man for United’s defensive horror shows, Maguire’s mistakes were often a serious cause for concern, with data suggesting that he held the unnecessary record of most errors leading to goals in the Premier League last season.
Therefore, if ten Hag wants to turn United into contenders again, then he arguably needs to axe the England international from his starting side next season.
Reports have already claimed that the new Dutch manager plans to strip the former Leicester City man of the captaincy at Old Trafford, while further reports suggest he could be out the door altogether.
That may be seen by many United fans as a step in the right direction, but a more reliable option than Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly needs to be brought in to partner Raphael Varane.
Torres could be the ideal man after excelling in Spain for Villarreal in recent seasons. The 25-year-old made 33 appearances in La Liga last season for Unai Emery’s side, averaging a solid 6.86 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
He was also a regular as the Spaniards reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so has plenty of experience playing at the elite level.
Former United man Owen Hargreaves was full of praise for the centre-back last season, saying:
“He’s a fantastic player. I’m quite surprised he’s still at Villarreal. English teams were looking at him.
“I think everyone was talking about Man United and even Real Madrid, I think his potential is literally that high.
“He’s got a fabulous left foot, he’s great in possession. A fantastic player so I don’t think he’ll be at Villarreal very long.”
Torres reportedly has a £56m release clause in his Villarreal contract and if United do decide to pay it and bring him to Old Trafford then you would expect him to be a regular starter.
That could be the catalyst for the club finally getting rid of Maguire for good.