Manchester United are making checks on Villarreal star Pau Torres as one of five potential centre-back targets for the summer, it has been reported.
Although it is not yet clear whether Erik ten Hag, Mauricio Pochettino or someone else will be their manager next season, Manchester United staff are putting their research in when it comes to potential targets.
With Champions League football creeping away from their grasp, it could be a lower spending summer at Old Trafford. That said, they will need to reinforce their squad to appease any new manager and help get back where they belong.
A report from 90min has confirmed that in addition to the need for a striker and a central midfielder, Manchester United would consider adding a centre-back as well.
The update comes amid doubts over the status of club captain Harry Maguire. He has been coming under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks.
The online outlet also claims that Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones could be at risk if suitable offers come in. It seems the backline will be built around Raphael Varane and one new face from next season.
That new player could be Pau Torres, the report claims. After winning the Europa League with Villarreal – at United’s expense – last season, the Spaniard has continued his impressive form this term.
Left-footed, he also reportedly appeals to Tottenham Hotspur. However, it is Man Utd who are now keeping tabs on him after also holding talks before the Varane deal last year.
Coincidentally, Varane’s former club Real Madrid are another long-term admirer, as verified by the report.
But Man Utd are making their own plans for the 25-year-old. They even went to scout him in Villarreal’s Champions League win over Juventus. Torres caught the eye by contributing to a clean sheet and even scoring once himself.
A decision would come either way after the appointment of a new manager.
Pau Torres one of five options for Man Utd
Besides, Torres is not the only centre-half on United’s radar. The report lists four alternatives: Antonio Rudiger, Max Kilman, Jules Kounde and Manuel Akanji.
Rudiger is approaching the end of his contract with Chelsea. The Blues have not given up hope of being able to renew his contract. But they are unable to negotiate at present.
The Germany international has impressed in recent seasons, becoming one of the Premier League’s elite.
Also standing out in the English top-flight has been Kilman. He has risen to prominence with Wolves this term.
Kounde, like Pau Torres, is one of the best defenders in La Liga. A France international, Chelsea tried to sign him from Sevilla last summer but now United could try their luck. (Interestingly, Sevilla are the only side, other than league leaders Real Madrid, to have conceded less than Villarreal in the Spanish top-flight this term).
Alternatively, Akanji may make the move from Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. There have been a few reports on United’s interest in his services.
Now, Pau Torres is back in the mix too. His contract with Villarreal runs until 2024.