Man Utd could finally trigger £50m Pau Torres clause with Villarreal star ‘open to offers’ | Football | Sport

Manchester United have revived their long-standing interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres as the club plan to sign another new centre-back this summer. The 25-year-old is back on United’s radar ahead of a transfer window with mass changes expected in the dugout and on the pitch.

According to the Manchester Evening News, United intend to sign a centre-half at the start of Erik ten Hag’s rebuild and have reignited their interest in Torres. Last summer, he was on the club’s shortlist, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted for Raphael Varane in a £34million deal from Real Madrid.

The Spaniard still has suitors at Old Trafford, though, and is understood to be ‘open to offers’ at the end of the season. However, he is in no rush to decide his future as he looks to finish the season strongly with Villarreal in La Liga and the Champions League.

If United’s interest materialises into something more concrete, they would likely need to trigger Torres’ £50m (€60m) release clause to lure him away from his boyhood club. Villarreal were willing to accept a player-plus-cash offer for their star defender last summer but preferred a cash-only agreement – a stance unlikely to have changed.

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United have spent £205million on six centre-backs since Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2013 retirement, two of which – Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind – are no longer at the club. Doubts also loom over Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof’s quality, whilst Raphael Varane has struggled to remain fit in his maiden season in England.

Eric Bailly and Phil Jones – one of the club’s current longest servants – will likely leave this summer as part of a significant clear-out, leaving space for at least one senior central-defensive recruit. Axel Tuanzebe could also depart on a permanent deal after struggling to make an impact on loan at Aston Villa and Napoli this season.

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Ralf Rangnick’s arrival as interim manager has sparked links with Antonio Rudiger, who United are understood to have held exploratory talks over following the 63-year-old’s recommendation. But the Chelsea defender, out of contract in June, wants to join a club where Champions League football is a given.

Ten Hag’s inevitable appointment has also attracted suggestions that he could bring Jurrien Timber with him from Ajax. But Torres could be a genuine possibility after spending his entire career so far at Villarreal. And dumping Liverpool out of the Champions League semi-finals could be the perfect ice-breaker.

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