Villarreal defender Pau Torres has claimed that Manchester United’s dressing room is full of ‘world-class players’ as the Red Devils target prepares to face them in Wednesday’s Europa League final.
The 24-year-old Spain star has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent months. Indeed, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made signing a top-class centre-back partner for Harry Maguire a top priority this summer. And United will get a first-hand look at the impressive Torres in Gdansk.
The Villarreal man, who has also been linked with Barcelona, has firmly established himself as one of the best ball-playing defenders in LaLiga. He has gained plenty of plaudits for his passing ability and calmness in possession.
Torres will put himself firmly in the shop window if he shuts out United in Poland. His side are chasing a Champions League spot after missing out via their league position.
He will be tested, however, with Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes all set to start the showpiece game. But Torres is confident of coping with that threat, as he told Guillem Balague on the Pure Football Podcast.
“When I hear the names of important strikers, what I want to do is to face them,” said Torres. “The same thing happened to me in my first games against Real Madrid, Barcelona.
“I knew that I would face very good players, and the only thing I have in mind is that I will face very important players, and that way [I will] know where my level is.
“Manchester United have world-class players in all positions. It will be a test to measure just where Villarreal is at this moment, to see if it is prepared to achieve great things.”
Torres has also been named in Luis Enrique’s 26-man Spain squad for the upcoming European Championships. He has beaten out the likes of Sergio Ramos for a place and could be set for a busy summer if he ends up completing a big-money switch to Old Trafford.
Man Utd agree deal for first summer signing
Meanwhile, United have reportedly agreed a deal with Tom Heaton to sign the veteran goalkeeper following his release from Aston Villa.
The 35-year-old will move back to Old Trafford on a free transfer once his Villa Park contract expires. He will join a keeper set-up that is currently strong, although it’s highly likely that one of David de Gea or Dean Henderson will move on once Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirms who is No.1 is for next season.
Former England stopper Heaton actually began his career with the Red Devils back in 2002. He eventually left three years later having never made a start for the club.
The report in the Daily Mirror claims that the former Burnley man will now resume his career in Manchester. However, he has not made a first-team appearance since January 1 2020. Heaton suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury for Villa against the Clarets.
The injury also saw him lose his place to Emi Martinez at Villa, who arrived from Arsenal last summer.
Heaton made four appearances for Villa’s Under-23 side last season but that wasn’t enough to warrant a new contract.
Despite his lack of game time, United view Heaton as a risk-free signing, given the lack of fee involved.
Third-choice stopper Sergio Romero is also expected to quit Old Trafford this summer. That could mean the veteran actually becomes a valued member of the Red Devils squad going forward.