Despite manager Pep Guardiola insisting that most of the players on City’s radar won’t be available during the January transfer window, the club’s scouts are continuing to run the rule on several targets across the continent and Torres seems to have caught the eye. (h/t Telegraph)
Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, who counts as a homegrown prospect, is another centre-back on City’s shortlist of potential targets but he has been heavily linked with a return to his former club Chelsea, who apparently have the option to bring him back to Stamford Bridge for a fee of £40 million. (h/t Telegraph)
Besides Ake and Torres, City’s scouts are also making regular checks on Portuguese international defender, Ruben Dias, who currently plies his trade with Benfica in his homeland. (h/t Telegraph)
Torres, who has been with Villareal since his childhood days, burst on to the scene for the club’s reserve side in the Segunda Division B before making the step up to the first-team during the 2017-18 campaign.
Having played only a bit-part role in his debut season, the 22-year-old was shipped out on loan to Malaga in the second-tier from a development point of view, and Torres clocked up 40 appearances during the 2018-19 season to guide his club to the promotion playoffs.
The homegrown starlet has cemented his place as a regular starter at Villarreal in the La Liga this term since returning from his loan spell at Malaga, accumulating 18 appearances so far and earning rave reviews for his commanding displays at the back.
His impressive breakthrough season in the La Liga has also paved the way for a senior international debut, with Torres earning his first cap for Spain in a 7-0 rout of Malta in a Euro 2020 qualifier back in October.
The Citizens also have a difficult Round-of-16 tie against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League to look forward to in February, while a trip to Old Trafford to face crosstown rivals Man United in the semi-final of the EFL Cup also represents a stiff task for Pep Guardiola’s side.
With long-serving former club-captain Vincent Kompany departing Etihad this past summer and Aymeric Laporte suffering a long-term injury just four games into the season, Man City have struggled badly to plug the gaping holes at the back.
Nicolas Otamendi has failed to live up to the expectations alongside Fernandinho, who has been used in a makeshift central defensive role this season, with John Stones also going through his fair share of injury problems.
It is a no-brainer that City’s lack of options at the back has come back to haunt them badly in their pursuit of a third straight Premier League crown. In fact, they haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 13 games across all competitions.
To put things into perspective, Man City desperately need to fix their defensive problems heading into the crucial second half of the campaign. Pau Torres looks like a fine young defender in the right age bracket to add depth to the club’s options at the back.
As per whoscored, Torres has averaged 59.2 passes per game at an accuracy rate of 84%, including 6.4 long balls, 1.6 aerial duels, 1 tackle, 0.6 interceptions and 4.8 clearances per game in the La Liga this term.
The Spaniard is still very young but the fact that he has already established himself as a regular starter in the La Liga lies testament to his rapid progress and vast potential. Guardiola has transformed Laporte into a world-class centre-back and Torres also has the raw materials to follow in the Frenchman’s footsteps at the Etihad.
Even if Torres struggles to make an immediate impact in the second half of the ongoing campaign, his talent and potential have never been in doubt.
Having said that, Pau Torres to Man City seems to have all the makings of an excellent piece of business for the Citizens and one that could pay off handsomely for them in the years to come.