Spurs tipped to challenge Man Utd for big-money Champions League star defender

Villarreal star linked with Spurs move once again despite a 2021 summer rejection.

Tottenham Hotspur have been on the lookout for a top class central defender and have been tipped to reignite their interest in Villarreal star Pau Torres.

Spurs have been linked with the 25-year-old Spain international for nearly a year, and reportedly had a bid for the player accepted, only for him to decide to stay in La Liga.

Reports from Football Insider are once more suggesting that Spurs are keeping tabs on the centre-back in a bid to bring him to north London.

The reports have also indicated that Torres is wanted by a number of other Premier League clubs, and a transfer battle could be brewing ahead of the summer window opening.

Villarreal are said to have set a price tag of around £50m for their centre-back, who is out of contract in 2024.

Antonio Conte’s side has long been a fan of the towering defender, but noise has been made by Manchester United and Aston Villa as they all hope to bolster their back-lines in the summer.

So who is Pau Torres and who is likely to sign the Spaniard?

Pau Torres

Torres was born in Villarreal, Spain, and came through the club’s youth academy - representing them at various age levels.

After joining the senior squad in 2017, he was sent on loan to Malaga in 2018/19, and racked up an invaluable 38 appearances.

Since rejoining his childhood team, Torres has made 95 appearances and scored eight times.

Torres impressed Conte at Europa League final, 2021
Torres impressed Conte at Europa League final, 2021
Torres impressed Conte at Europa League final, 2021

He has strongly established himself within the squad, playing every minute in the league. In October 2019, his efforts with Villarreal were rewarded with a contract extension until 2024.

The centre-back received his first international call-up in October 2019 and debuted in November during Spain’s 7-0 win over Malta.

He has since made 16 appearances for his country and was selected for the Olympic team that won a silver medal at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The centre-back was also part of Villarreal’s victorious shoot-out win over Manchester United in the Europa League final last year.

Who is likely to seal the deal?

Spurs certainly look to be among the front-runners to sign Torres. While Villarreal are currently sitting ninth in La Liga, nine points away from a Champions League place, the north Londoners are only three points away from the Premier League’s top four thanks to their 3-1 win over West Ham.

Torres against Atalanta in 2021
Torres against Atalanta in 2021
Torres against Atalanta in 2021

Antonio Conte is said been a long-time fan of the Spanish centre-back, considering him to be one of the finest centre-backs in Europe.

Meanwhile, it was revealed by the Spanish outlet fichajes.net that Torres is now a player Steven Gerrard has ‘completely fallen in love with’ and would likely cost Villa Park around £50million to sign him.

However, Villa look unlikely to be able to offer European football, let alone Champions League football, next season.

Torres has also been linked with a move to Manchester United in the past, and they could certainly do with shaking up their leaky defence in the summer.

What has Torres said?

In January 2022, Torres responded to the news of Spurs’ offer saying: “This summer (2021), my agent called me and told me that there was an important offer from Tottenham. (They offered) more than what I get paid now. But since I play for my hometown team, only a few players do, I decided to stay where I am happy.”