According to multiple reports from outlets such as Manchester Evening News (M.E.N), TEAMtalk and The Daily Express Manchester United are interested in signing Villarreal Spanish centre-back Pau Torres. United are in the market for a centre back and could offer Ivorian international Eric Bailly back to his former club as part of a swap deal for Torres. However, Villarreal are reluctant to sell for less than their £60m asking price.
The deal could make sense for Solskjaer because he is currently looking for an experienced centre back. Eric Bailly could benefit from a return to Villarreal after struggling despite an excellent first season at United. The erratic Ivorian has struggled with injury during his four years in Manchester managing only 89 appearances in five seasons. The move back to Villarreal could be a positive step for him because the Ivorian is in need of rebuilding his career.
Pau Torres – Player Profile
Pau Torres is a talented left sided ball playing centre back for Villarreal and the Spanish National Team. The imposing Spaniard is 23 years old and has amassed an impressive 119 appearances for Villarreal, since making his debut in August 2016. Torres continued to impress for the reserve side throughout 2016/17 and made his La Liga debut against Sevilla F.C on 26th November, 2017. Villarreal then decided the next important step in Torres’ career was a loan spell to gain more first team experience. He joined recently relegated Malaga CF on a one year loan deal in the Segunda Division.
Torres impressed throughout his loan spell with the “Los Albicelestes” on the Costa de Sol. As a result, he returned to Villarreal to challenge for a starting position at centre back upon completion of his loan. The Spaniard successively cemented his place at centre back for “El Submarino Amarillo”, playing every match in the league. Torres signed a new contract with Villarreal in October 2019 which expires in 2024.
Pau Torres’ terrific form for “El Submarino Amarillo” resulted in him earning his first call up to the Spanish National Team for the October international break in October 2019. Roberto Moreno who was then in charge of the Spanish national team was a big fan of Torres’. His passing ability and athleticism gave Moreno’s side more flexibility when defending.
Torres did not feature in the October international break fixtures against Norway and Sweden. However, he impressed Moreno and his coaching staff throughout the camp. Roberto Moreno finally gave Torres’ his long awaited international debut against Malta in November, 2019. Spain demolished Malta 7-0 and Torres capped his international debut with a goal. Moreno stepped down as manager after gaining qualification for Euro 2020 after only 5 months in charge. Luis Enrique replaced Moreno and decided not to keep him on as a coach in his backroom staff.
There has been a significant squad overhaul with “La Roja” under Luis Enrique’s guidance. He has started to integrate a number of exciting young players to the Spanish team whilst including key players. Enrique seems to have settled on a preferred centre back partnership of the evergreen Sergio Ramos and Pau Torres. Torres has assorted himself as a key figure for “La Roja” starting in every game under Luis Enrique. He has formed an impressive partnership with inspirational captain Sergio Ramos. Spanish manager Luis Enrique has described Pau Torres as the perfect long term replacement for Sergio Ramos.
Pau Torres – Style of Play
Torres is a gracious ball playing centre-back with the potential to become one of the top defenders in European football. Torres has formed a formidable defensive partnership at centre-back alongside Spanish veteran Raul Albiol. The Spaniard is left footed which is essential as he provides balance in the build-up when playing out from the back.
He has showcased throughout his career with Villarreal and Spain his confidence in possession. Torres would suit the physicality of the English game standing at an impressive 6’3 and weighing 82kg. His physicality has allowed Torres to dominate opposition players aerially and on the ground. He is an excellent reader of the game with a high football IQ evident from his excellent positional displays for Villarreal and Spain.
Another impressive attribute of Pau Torres is his passing range and ability when in possession. Statistics show he averages around 55.26 passes per game with 86.2% accuracy. He has a wide range of passing which has been evident under Villarreal’s style of play.
His ability to play long accurate passes and short accurate passes out from the back would be an excellent asset to Manchester United. The Red Devils have struggled to play out from the back under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer which is part of his philosophy. Torres is an excellent young imposing defender who would improve any top European club’s defence immediately. He would be the perfect partner at centre back alongside club captain Harry Maguire.
However, considering Manchester United’s embarrassment of riches with central defenders, a transfer for the talented Spaniard remains unlikely. It would be dependent of Ed Woodward finding a suitor for some of United’s centre backs. United currently have six senior central defenders at the club and would have to off load Jones, Bailly and Rojo before moving for Torres. Solskjaer is looking to strengthen at centre-back and if the club does manage to get Jones and Rojo off the books Eric Bailly could be used as leverage in a potential transfer for Torres.