Aston Villa close in on deal to sign Pau Torres from Villareal

Aston Villa are on the verge of signing Spain international Pau Torres from Villareal according to multiple reports.

David Ornstein and Fabrizio Romano revealed on Thursday that the clubs were close to an agreement for the transfer of the 26-year-old central defender to the Premier League.

Torres was courted by the likes of Bayern Munich, but his familiarity with Villa boss Unai Emery — who coached Villareal from July 2020 to October 2022 — proved crucial in securing his impending arrival in Birmingham.

The transfer will reportedly be worth £31.5 million — nearly half the cost of Torres’ release clause. Torres will be Villa’s second signing of the summer transfer window after the club captured Youri Tielemans on a free transfer from relegated Leicester City.

A statement signing for Aston Villa

Torres was one of the La Liga’s best defenders last season and led all center halves in five statistical categories, including most touches (2,560) and most passes completed (1,846).

He boasted a 91% short pass accuracy rating in 2022/23 and made one appearance for Spain at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 1: Pau Torres of Spain during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Spain at Khalifa International Stadium on December 1, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

The left-footed Torres joins a group of Villa central defenders that includes Ezri Konsa, Diego Carlos, and Tyrone Mings.

Mings — a standout in a side transformed by the arrival of Emery — is also left-footed and will be immediately threatened by the arrival of Torres. That is unless Emery is contemplating a change in philosophy and a move to a three-man back line.

Should Emery adopt current tactical trends, Villa could play with a flat back three next season, or potentially utilize both Mings and Torres as central defenders with Konsa playing as a hybrid “elbow.”

Regardless of Emery’s plans, his side will be competing on four fronts in 2023/24: Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, and UEFA Europa Conference League. Squad depth will be key to a successful season, and Torres bolsters and already strong  Villa side.

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