Barcelona are reportedly readying a summer move for Villarreal’s Spanish international defender Pau Torres, who is also a transfer target for Manchester United.

According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, La Liga giants Barcelona are lining up a move for Villarreal defender Pau Torres in the upcoming transfer window. The central defender, who is said to have a release clause worth €60 million, is also being pursued ardently by 2020/21 Premier League runners-up Manchester United.

Torres came through the youth ranks at Villarreal and has become a permanent fixture at the heart of their defence since the 2019/20 campaign after a successful season out on loan with second division side Malaga. The Spaniard has quickly gone about establishing himself as one of the most reliable centre-backs in La Liga while also breaking into the national team.

Till date, Torres has featured 85 times for the Yellow Submarine, even managing to chip in with five goals and four assists. An ever-present in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League as Unai Emery’s side made it all the way to the finals, the 24-year-old has attracted widespread interest heading into the summer transfer window, with Manchester United at the forefront of it.

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Manchester United’s need for defensive reinforcements is pretty much self-explanatory given how the team has looked shaky in the absence of captain Harry Maguire. Both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof have not been consistent enough while being bogged down by injury problems as well. Add to it, with uncertainty looming with regard to Axel Tuanzebe’s future, a new centre-back becomes a necessary addition for the 20-time English champions.

However, if the competition from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City was not already enough, the Red Devils will now also have to battle with Barcelona in order to clinch the signing of the seven-time capped Spanish international. The Blaugrana have endured a difficult first season under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman compared to the usual standards they set for themselves and, as a result, are planning a major overhaul this summer.

And defence is an area where major changes are set to take place ahead of the upcoming campaign. Gerard Pique is in the final phase of his illustrious career and will need to be replaced in the long-term while Oscar Mingueza and Ronald Araujo are still not experienced enough at the highest level. In addition, the injury-prone Samuel Umtiti is set to be sold while Clement Lenglet is also looking at an uncertain future at Camp Nou.

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Barcelona have already taken one step towards bolstering their defence, with Eric Garcia set to arrive from Manchester City on a free transfer. However, the Blaugrana are also looking for a left-footed centre-back in order to offset the departure of Umtiti, making Torres the perfect long-term option, given his proven pedigree and age.

To that end, Barcelona are now considering launching a move for the 24-year-old, who has a release clause worth €60 million embedded in his contract with Villarreal. It now remains to be seen if the Catalans are successful in their pursuit of Torres or are beaten to the punch by Manchester United or any other club among his numerous suitors.

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