Manchester United are eyeing a move for Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres as an ideal long-term partner for Harry Maguire, according to reports.
Old Trafford chiefs have identified centre-back as a priority position to strengthen in the summer, with the likes of Real Madrid duo Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, as well as Sevilla star Jules Kounde, being linked.
However, Manchester Evening News claim Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United are now looking at a possible deal for Spain international Torres, who is viewed as an ideal partner for club captain Maguire as he is left-footed and likely to be cheaper than ‘dream’ signing Varane.
Manchester United are eyeing Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, according to reports
Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly views Torres as an ideal partner for Harry Maguire
Torres has established himself as a regular starter for the Spanish outfit over the course of the last two seasons, and the link with United follows reports late last month from Eurosport that he has a £43million release clause in his contract.
The 24-year-old – who has made 31 appearances and scored two goals across all competitions for Unai Emery’s men this season – has also been capped seven times by his country, most recently under Luis Enrique in November’s international break.
The report from the Manchester-based outlet also adds that rivals Manchester City admire Torres, who is considered to be the leading candidate to partner Ramos for Spain at the delayed Euros this summer.
But with Pep Guardiola having recruited Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake last summer, the position is not seen as a pressing issue at the Etihad Stadium and therefore it is United who they claim would be the most likely of the two to actually make a move at the end of the current campaign.
He is also reportedly a viable alternative to ‘dream’ signing Raphael Varane from Real Madrid
Man City also admire Torres but he is not seen as a priority after they signed Ruben Dias
Other Premier League sides are also said to admire Torres, and the same outlet also claims European giants Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are also interested.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this month that Varane will be sold by Madrid for more than £60m if he does not sign a new deal, but the Old Trafford club are mindful of paying what they consider inflated prices in the current climate.
That unwillingness is also understood to be behind their reluctance to meet France centre-back Kounde’s £68m release clause at Sevilla, although the club do retain an interest in one of Europe’s best defensive prospects.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde has also been linked but United are unwilling to meet his release clause
Solskjaer has seen his side keep five clean sheets in their last six matches but is still eager to recruit more defenders in the summer given his apparent lack of satisfaction with current options.
Victor Lindelof has continued in his ability to convince alongside Maguire while Eric Bailly’s injury record is becoming increasingly concerning at Old Trafford.
Axel Tuanzebe has lacked consistency and form since a loan spell at Aston Villa two seasons ago, while Phil Jones looks set to leave on a free at the end of the season having not featured for the club in a year.