That’s according to a report by Sky Italia (via The Express), who claim that Fabio Paratici is in ongoing discussions with Villarreal CF concerning a swap deal for Giovani Lo Celso and the 25-year-old centre-back.
The report goes on to state that, with the Spain international valued at around £50m and Tottenham looking to recoup £20m for the central midfielder, it would appear as if the Italian will be required to pay an additional fee on top of the player swap in order for talks to progress – although it is currently unclear how likely it is that the two clubs will reach an agreement.
While it is well reported that Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni is Antonio Conte’s first-choice target for a new left-footed centre-back this summer, with it still remaining unclear as to whether the 23-year-old would be willing to leave the San Siro for Spurs, it is not difficult to see why Paratici is also in negotiations with Villarreal regarding a move for Torres.
Indeed, over his 33 LaLiga appearances in 2021/22, the £60m-rated talent was imperious in the heart of Unai Emery’s defence, helping the Yellow Submarines keep 11 clean sheets, as well as making an average of 0.6 interceptions, 1.0 tackles, 3.1 clearances and winning 4.0 duels – at a success rate of 66% – per game.
The £126k-per-week centre-back also impressed in an attacking capacity, scoring five goals, registering one assist and creating three big chances for his teammates, as well as completing an average of 51.4 passes, 4.2 long balls, 0.8 dribbles and taking 0.7 shots per fixture.
These returns have seen the player who Ryan Haber dubbed a “dream” signing average a quite sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.09, ranking him as Villarreal’s joint third-best performer – alongside Lo Celso – in the league.
Furthermore, according to FBref data, the 25-year-old also ranks in the top 3% of centre-backs in Europe’s big five leagues for non-penalty goals per 90, as well as the top 13% for xA, the top 10% for progressive passes, the top 10% for progressive dribbles and the top 1% for dribbles completed over the last 12 months.
As such, with it being clear to see that the Spanish left-footer is one of the best ball-playing centre-back’s currently playing the game, should Paratici fail in his £54m move for Bastoni this summer, Torres would very much look to be a dream alternative for Conte’s Tottenham side.