Steven Gerrard is dreaming of bringing Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres to Aston Villa, according to Spanish outlet Fichajes.
The 24-year-old is enjoying a first taste of Champions League football with Villarreal this season, having helped them defeat Manchester United to win the 2020/21 Europa League. He featured in the tournament’s Squad of the Season in recognition of his performances on the road to triumph in Gdansk.
Torres also earned a call-up to the Spain squad for last summer’s European Championship, featuring in all six of their matches as they reached the semi-final, where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Italy.
Javi Calleja, one of his former coaches, has marvelled at his ‘extraordinary talent to construct the play’, which saw him occasionally used as a midfielder. Another mentor, Miguel Alvarez of Villarreal B, has spoken of his ‘barbarous natural talent’ (via The Athletic).
For an idea of his playing style, he boasts a similar profile to Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte, former Arsenal defender David Luiz and Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger (via FBRef).
The report from Fichajes stated that Torres is a player with whom Gerrard ‘completely falls in love’.
The Villa manager apparently intent on upgrading at centre-half, with captain Tyrone Mings and Axel Tuanzebe adjudged to be in a ‘significant slump’ of form, and Gerrard knows he has ‘a lot of money’ at his disposal in his new position to strengthen the squad.
However, Villa will apparently need to shell out €50m, which equates to around £42m, to persuade Villarreal to part with Torres. His name has been mentioned in connection with Real Madrid and Manchester United, but there is a feeling that he’s not quite reached the elite level just yet.
Signing Torres would be quite some coup for Villa. He has not only held his own against United but also, Calleja says, against the likes of Karim Benzema, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Is it a realistic signing? If the top clubs haven’t seen enough yet to take the plunge on him, and the Midlanders have the money, then it’s just a matter of persuading Torres to swap Villarreal for Villa.
Given that Villarreal are currently 12th in La Liga, they might not have the advantage of European football next season, which could be another factor in Villa’s hopes of luring him to England.
In other news, this is who Gerrard wants at left-back for Villa
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