Key defensive target rejects transfer to Tottenham

Martin Macdonald
Who is Pau Torres? The Villarreal defender wanted by Man Utd, Man City and Real Madrid

Tottenham are likely to miss out on a major transfer target after defender Pau Torres rejected a move from Villarreal.

Spurs have already signed central defender Cristian Romero from Atalanta for around €55m, but new manager Nuno Espirito Santo is eager for more reinforcements at the back.

Toby Alderweireld has left for Al-Duhail, while an upgrade is desired on Eric Dier, Joe Rodon and Davinson Sanchez.

Torres was previously identified as a potential partner for Romero, or even as an additional body for Nuno's preferred formation with a back three.

However, according to SIC Noticias, Torres has turned down the opportunity to move to North London.

According to the Portuguese outlet, Torres wants to play in the Champions League and would only consider a move to a team who have qualified for that competition.

The Spaniard himself is a Villarreal fan, too, and has previously expressed a desire to represent the Yellow Submarine in the Champions League following the club's victory over Manchester United in the Europa League final.

As well as Tottenham, Torres has been strongly linked with a transfer to Real Madrid as a replacement for Raphael Varane.

How good is Pau Torres?

On average in La Liga in the 2020/21 campaign, he completes 64.4 passes per game for a success rate of 88%, with 8.4 of those being sent into dangerous areas into the final third.

Although the final third statistic is not near the top of the leaderboard, that is mainly due to how Villarreal play, as he is regularly asked to pass possession on to deep-lying midfielders Dani Parejo, Vicente Iborra and Francis Coquelin.

Within La Liga, he wins the majority of his duels (64%), the majority of his aerial duels (64%) and averages 5.8 ball recoveries per game.

His current boss Unai Emery believes he has the quality to play for an elite club.

Pau Torres is an amazing player – I think he’s top,” Emery told football.london.

“I’ve been a coach in Sevilla, PSG, Arsenal and I’ve never seen a centre-back like Pau Torres.

“I think he’s going to play at the highest level, he’s playing now in the national team but he can play in the top teams in Europe very soon.”

Tottenham had a poor campaign last season, and need to qualify for the Europa Conference tournament in order to gain European football this upcoming campaign.