Manchester United have been linked with a move for Villarreal central defender Pau Torres this summer according to a report from The Times. Over the past season, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have seen that his defence requires attention this summer despite signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire last summer for more that £125 million, before add-ons. Victor Lindelof has not looked like the most solid partner for Maguire, despite his brilliant performance against Leicester City on the final day of the Premier League season.
United have already been linked to Bournemouth central defender Nathan Ake, after Solskjaer was speaking to the player after their recent match and Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes already this summer with Torres being another name added to that list. It is suggested that the Spanish defender has become Solskjaer’s number one defensive target this summer after helping Villarreal rise to fifth in La Liga. It is expected that Torres, if United sign him, would replace Lindelof in the starting XI which would also see Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe slip down the pecking order at the Old Trafford club.
During the course of the delayed 2019/20 season, playing in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, Torres made a total of 36 appearances for Villarreal scoring two goals and two assists. Barcelona also seem to be interested in the Spaniard this summer but their finances could be a problem with United seemingly having the money to spend. It would all come down to whether the player would want to move to Manchester from his native Spain. Two seasons ago, the player was loaned to Malaga where he proved his potential.
The 23-year-old is known for his aerial ability and is left-footed, which is one of the reasons why a big deal was made of the fact that Solskjaer spoke to Ake after the Bournemouth match. The player has already made his international debit for the Spain senior side, playing in a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier against Malta in which he scored the third goal of the game in the 7-0 victory played in Cadiz. The player has a €43 million release clause (£39 million) which is interesting. It is also suggested that Real Madrid are showing interest in the player.
If he is indeed a target for Solskjaer, United might need to act quickly in the transfer market. With suggestions that United are confident of reaching a deal with Borussia Dortmund for Jadon Sancho this summer, it remains to be seen if United can sort out transfers of more than one player consecutively, as last summer, that was not something the club was able to do. United will need to act quickly though as if Barcelona are serious about the player, it may just be a matter of time before the club make their move.
I am sure that United will have other defensive targets this summer, other than the likes of Ake, Magalhaes and Torres but it would seem that United are actively seeking to bring in a defender to solve the problems at the back. Having a solid defence at the club will be important if United want to build on the season that has just been completed. During the 2018/19 season, United conceded 54 goals in the Premier League alone, reducing that to 36 goal during the 2019/20 season. To improve even more, reducing that against during the 2020/21 season will be imperative. Perhaps Torres could help, if United end up signing the Spaniard?
Written by John Walker