Aston Villa are reportedly one of the clubs in contention to sign Pau Torres from Villarreal, where he previously played for Unai Emery.
Torres made 105 appearances under Emery, more than any other coach in his career so far. The Villarreal academy graduate clearly felt comfortable with that working relationship. Indeed, their spell together included winning the Europa League final in 2021 at the expense of Man Utd.
That summer, Torres went on to reject an approach from Tottenham. However, two years later, he now feels ready to jump ship for the Premier League.
That’s according to Diario Sport, which has named Emery’s Villa as one of the main contenders to sign him. Their biggest transfer threat, as things stand, would be Juventus in Serie A.
There is even a suggestion that Tottenham could come back in for him, despite Torres previously turning his nose up at them. After all, Spurs need to strengthen defensively after a disappointing season.
But the Emery connection could be a significant factor for Villa, who also managed to beat Tottenham to European qualification for next season.
For anyone to sign Torres from Villarreal, where he is only under contract for another year, they might have to activate his €50m (£43m) release clause.
And despite the lack of time remaining on his contract, clubs like Villa may well believe he is worth it. The report cites how he has matured over the past couple of seasons.
Indeed, on his WhoScored profile, there are no significant weaknesses listed within Torres’ attributes. And at the age of 26, he is entering the prime of his career.
According to Sport, Villa could entice him with a long-term project under Emery. In contrast, Juventus might be more ready to compete for honours in the short term.
Pau Torres could add European quality to Aston Villa
Nevertheless, Emery will be guiding Villa in the Europa Conference League next season after helping them climb to a seventh-place finish following his appointment in October.
It is a lower ranking competition than the Europa League, which Torres would be competing in if he stayed at Villarreal, but it will be an exciting journey for Villa to embark on.
Fellow Premier League side, West Ham, have reached the final of this season’s Conference League. How far Villa could go in their first European competition for over a decade remains to be seen, but adding a player of Torres’ pedigree would surely help.
The centre-backs currently at Emery’s disposal include Diego Carlos, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Calum Chambers.
However, the former missed a large portion of his debut season with the club because of injury. Like Mings, he also turned 30 in March.
All of Villa’s centre-backs are under contract until 2026, apart from Chambers, whose deal is due to expire a year earlier.