Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Aston Villa muscle ahead of Tottenham for ‘extraordinary’ star Gerrard is ‘in love with’

Ciaran McCarthy

Aston Villa are reportedly interested in Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, as new manager Steven Gerrard looks to put his stamp on the side with a player he loves.

Aston Villa’s fortunes have changed somewhat over the past year. The side finished 11th in the Premier League last season, but started this campaign in a less promising fashion.

The poor start, which saw Villa rack up just 10 points from 11 games was enough to force Dean Smith out of the club.

However, replacing Smith with Gerrard shows an air of ambition. Indeed, Gerrard begun his reign in style, defeating Brighton 2-0 at Villa Park at the weekend.

The manager will be keen on recruiting some star names to the side to continue on the right path. As such, Villa are reported to be interested in Spain international Pau Torres, per Sport Witness.

Gerrard is said to be ‘in love with’ the centre-back, and as such is keen on bringing him to England. The Spaniard has also been described as ‘extraordinary’.

Defensive woes are apparent at Villa this season. The side have conceded 20 goals in the Premier League, one of the highest tallies of any team.

Furthermore, there have been constant changes of the centre-back partnership. Each of Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Kourtney Hause and Axel Tuanzebe have started at some point this season.

Of course, Gerrard will figure out his preferred partnership the longer he spends with the squad. If the manager is not happy with how some players perform, replacing them could certainly reap rewards in his quest to climb the table.

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Indeed, Torres seems a very competent defender, 16 caps for Spain highlight his talent and promise. However, the Spaniard turned down Tottenham in the summer, as he wants to play Champions League football.

Spurs remain keen now Conte is at the helm. However, he appears more likely to turn his attentions to former club Inter Milan as he seeks a new defender.

Torres has also been subject to interest from Chelsea and Manchester City. As such, Villa may struggle to lure the 24-year-old to the club, and may be forced to pursue other avenues.

That said, the report claims Gerrard is planning an ambitious approach and they look a more likely suitor than Tottenham.

Gerrard pleased with Villa leader

Aston Villa quartet Marvelous Nakamba, Ashley Young, Anwar El Ghazi and Jaden Philogene-Bidace 2021

Since the manager’s arrival at the club, he has had limited time to get to know his squad. Despite that, he is impressed with Ashley Young, who he played with for England.

“I know Ashley extremely well and he’s been absolutely outstanding since we walked through the door. Not just on the training pitch but his leadership and standard-setting,” he said.

“We see players like him as an outer-layer of the staff, if you like, who really help us when we need to lean on him.”

Indeed, Young’s experience at Villa, among other clubs stands him in good stead as a leader. What’s more, his impressive performance, including an assist against Brighton, shows he still has star quality on the field.