Manchester United are reportedly set to face competition from Arsenal and Manchester City in the race to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres this summer.

According to a report from Italian publication Calciomercato, the race to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres in the upcoming transfer window continues to hot up as Arsenal and Manchester City have joined arch-rivals Manchester United in pursuit of the Spaniard.

Torres has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in La Liga over the past couple of seasons. Having enjoyed a successful loan spell away at Malaga in 2018/19, he has become a mainstay at the heart of the Villarreal defence ever since, while also breaking into the Spanish national team. The 24-year-old has made 82 appearances for the Yellow Submarine so far, contributing with five goals and three assists.

Heralded for his ball-playing abilities as well as his recovery pace and game-reading, Torres has emerged as one of the most wanted commodities heading into the upcoming transfer window. Indeed, the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool have been credited with an interest in Torres, while Manchester United have been the most strongly linked team with him.

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Manchester United’s need for a new central defender emanates due to the inconsistencies shown by their frontline centre-backs this season. Captain Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have been largely steady but have made some costly errors over the course of the campaign while the latter has also struggled with some niggling back issues.

Eric Bailly, who recently penned a new contract with the Red Devils, continues to be an unreliable option due to his injury problems whereas Phil Jones is not part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans. And with Axel Tuanzebe being linked with a summer exit, there is room for Manchester United bringing in a new centre-back, making Torres a viable target.

However, Manchester United will now face added competition from local rivals Manchester City as well as bitter rivals Arsenal. The Cityzens have a packed central defensive unit already with Ruben Dias, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake as well as Eric Garcia. However, the latter is closing in on a summer switch to Barcelona while Ake is also said to be considering his future at the club due to the lack of game-time.

With Garcia almost certain to leave, the potential departure of Ake would create a vacancy in the squad that will need addressing, which would explain the Cityzens’ interest in Torres.

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As for Arsenal, veteran defender David Luiz is out of contract at the end of the season and the Gunners will need to replace him given as William Saliba, who is out on loan, doesn’t seem to be a part of Mikel Arteta’s plans while Gabriel Magalhaes has endured a swift fall from grace after a strong start to his debut campaign in England. So, someone like Torres has the potential to be a solid addition at the Emirates.

Even though it has recently been claimed that Manchester United are in advanced talks to secure Torres’ signing, it seems like they are set to face intense battle from their rivals until the finish line. It now remains to be seen who comes out on top in the race for the defender.

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