Torres or Upamecano? Bayern targeting Alaba replacement

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 3 min read
Torres or Upamecano? Bayern targeting Alaba replacement

Bayern Munich are reportedly going to turn to Villarreal defender Pau Torres as a potential replacement for David Alaba should they fail to land primary transfer target Dayot Upamecano.

With Alaba not agreeing a new deal to stay at the club beyond this summer and likely to leave on a free transfer to Real Madrid, Bayern have stepped up their recruitment to find someone to take his place.

Over the past week or so they have been involved in an exchange of words with RB Leipzig over the future of Upamecano, who has emerged as one of the most promising central defenders in Europe.

Club chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bild Live of the Upamecano interest:

“We will of course deal with it, not only with this player, but in principle, on the positions where we want to do and have to do something.”

“In the time of coronavirus, the money situation is also an important factor.”

That led to RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann to accusing Bayern of trying to destabilise their Bundesliga rivals with such comments.

Though Upamecano remains their first choice replacement for Alaba, they are looking at alternatives and have identified Torres as a target, according to Marca.

The defender made his debut for the Yellow Submarine back in the 2017/18 season before moving on loan to Malaga for the duration of the 18/19 campaign in the Segunda Division.

He has since established himself as a starter for the Villarreal, and is now one of their key players, having played every minute of action for his side in the 2020/21 season.

However, Bayern would likely have to get involved in competition with Real Madrid who view him either as a replacement or a partner for Sergio Ramos, who could leave this summer.

Bayern targets: Upamecano v Torres

2020/21UpamecanoTorres
Starts2421
Tackles P901.32.0
Duels Won P904.93.6
Aerial Duels Won P902.22.0
Pass Completion P9088%88%
Ball Recoveries P909.45.9
In all competitions, via FootballCritic

The most interesting comparison above is that Upamecano and Torres both have the exact same pass completion rate for RB Leipzig and Villarreal this season at a high 88%.

Bayern naturally see most of the ball in basically every single domestic game, and so rely upon their centre-backs to distribute from the back effectively – something which is a key component of how both players perform.

Torres wins more tackles than Upamecano per 90 minutes, but concedes to winning less duels per 90 minutes, while Upamecano also has the edge over the Spaniard in aerial duels won per game.

These two are likely to be part of a transfer merry-go-round this summer, involving themselves, Alaba, Ramos, Bayern, Madrid, Villarreal, and RB Leipzig.

Should Ramos ultimately leave Real Madrid, Los Blancos will need someone in as a new starting centre-back. They could choose to target Torres or Upamecano themselves which will directly impact the recruitment of Bayern, who will be shopping in the same high-end market as their fellow elite side.

It is increasingly likely that Alaba will be heading to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, but that doesn’t mean Madrid won’t also attempt to bring in one of Upamecano or Torres, with Raphael Varane suffering from a drop in form over the past 18 months or so.

Upamecano has a reported £38m release clause in his current deal, while Torres has one set at £45m.