Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Pau Torres latest: Tottenham scout defender in Champions League semi as Conte plots to replace consistent star

Pau Torres celebrates for Villarreal

Tottenham reportedly scouted Pau Torres against Liverpool on Tuesday night, with the Villarreal defender earmarked to replace a stalwart Spurs star in Antonio Conte’s back three.

The Spanish side threatened to pull off a remarkable comeback when they lead 2-0 at the break to draw level at 2-2 on aggregate. However, the Reds brought on Luis Diaz and then stepped on the gas to eventually win 3-2 on the night and go through 5-3 on aggregate.

Torres did struggle to cope with that second-half onslaught. But the same can be said for the whole Villarreal side as they were overwhelmed.

The Spain international is still a quality performer, however, and has been on Spurs’ radar for some time.

Indeed, the north London club were looking to sign him last summer. However, Torres rejected a move as Tottenham were not in the Champions League.

That could all change next season, although Conte’s men still need to overcome Arsenal in the top four race.

The Spurs chief is on the lookout for at least one new centre-back this summer, with Torres very much on his radar.

And a report in the Daily Mail states that Conte did have Torres watched in the second leg against Liverpool.

Manchester United and Manchester City have also been linked with the 25-year-old, who has a £55million release clause.

The report adds that Spurs believe they can provide Torres with the ideal destination to fully showcase his qualities.

The big question will be whether Daniel Levy is prepared to splash out for than £50m on a centre-back.

The Tottenham chairman has already had his fingers burned with the ill-fated Davinson Sanchez deal. To that end, it’s expected that Levy will try his usual tactic of going in with a lowball offer first.

Torres not exactly a perfect fit

The potential addition of Torres would give Tottenham another classy defender on their books. But it’s where he fits in that is a slight quandary.

The left-sided centre-back appears to be a natural swap for Ben Davies in Conte’s back three. However, the Welshman has not really done a lot wrong and has been a consistent performer for Spurs.

The big thing for Conte is that he likes one of his two outside centre-backs to be a converted full-back who is comfortable breaking forward to support the midfield and attack.

Davies is able to do that in his role, while the more defensive Cristian Romero tends to sit back.

While Torres is good in possession, breaking forward at pace is not exactly one of his strengths.

But that raises the question if Tottenham are looking at Torres as a Dier upgrade in the central role. That would then allow Conte to keep Davies on the left or even look for a better option in that role.

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