Manchester United ‘best positioned’ to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres as Barcelona and Real Madrid look elsewhere despite Unai Emery linking Spain centre back with LaLiga giants
- Pau Torres has been tipped to exit LaLiga side Villarreal at the end of this season
- Yellows boss Unai Emery has urged Torres to only join Barcelona or Real Madrid
- Man United could now be frontrunners as the Spanish giants have other options
- Barca are thought to be closing in on Eric Garcia; Madrid are signing David Alaba
Manchester United are leading the race to sign Pau Torres amid a lack of interest in the Villarreal defender from Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.
Despite the Roja centre back repeatedly being linked with United, Yellows boss Unai Emery has urged Torres only to join Madrid or Barca – but the LaLiga giants are said to have turned their attentions elsewhere.
Asked about 25-goal top scorer Gerard Moreno, former Arsenal boss Emery told Marca: ‘If Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona want Villarreal players, [we’re] proud.
Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) is though to be interested in Pau Torres
Villarreal boss Unai Emery (centre) has encouraged Real Madrid and Barcelona to target Torres
‘And Pau Torres? Double, because he’s also from here. If he leaves here, he has to go to Real Madrid or Barcelona.’
Barcelona are said to have initially distanced themselves from a move for Torres, who will command an asking price of at least £43m, because of their financial worries.
Boss Ronald Koeman is also close to finalising a deal to bring Eric Garcia back to the club when his deal at Manchester City expires this summer.
Madrid also have an imminent new defensive arrival in the form of the experienced David Alaba, who will join them when he leaves Bayern Munich at the end of the season.
The defender has won seven caps for Spain, scoring in a Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Malta
That leaves United as the team ‘best positioned’ to capture Spain international Torres, Spanish daily La Razon has reported, adding that the 24-year-old would ‘welcome’ a move to Old Trafford.
Torres had played in every minute of Villarreal’s Liga season until earlier this month, when he missed two games through injury.
The youth team product was benched for the first time this season in his side’s surprise home defeat at home to lowly Osasuna last Sunday, which left Villarreal a point behind Sociedad in the race to finish fifth.
Torres returned for the 2-1 home win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday, helping Villarreal ease through to the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-1 aggregate victory.