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April 13, 2021

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The Spanish giants may need to find a new centre-back target (Pictures: Getty Images)

Manchester United have risked the wrath of Real Madrid after swooping in with an approach for Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, according to reports in Spain.

The imposing 24-year-old defender has a growing list of admirers following a string of excellent displays in La Liga and the Europa League and is expected to be in his nation’s starting XI for this summer’s upcoming European Championships.

Real Madrid had even earmarked Torres as a natural successor to skipper Sergio Ramos, who is out of contract with Los Blancos at the end of the season and yet to enter talks over a renewal.

Torres is one of the highest-rated young defenders in Europe (Picture: Getty)

But United appear to have stolen a march on Real and have Torres at the top of their shortlist of potential centre-back targets, with the Spaniard very interested in a move to the Premier League.

According to Spanish outlet El Desmarque, United’s rival approach for Torres has stunned Real president Florentino Perez and left him ‘very angry’.

The Liga giants – who are also sweating over the future of Raphael Varane – were increasingly confident of landing Torres but may now be forced into a rethink.

The Villarreal star is seen as the perfect long-term heir to Ramos and has a relatively affordable release clause of €60million (£51m).

United, meanwhile, have long been in the market for a new central defender and have actually been linked with both Ramos, who could be available on a free transfer this summer, and Varane, who is out of contract in 2022 and may be sold for a cut-price fee.

Madrid want to sign Torres as a successor to contract rebel Ramos (Picture: Getty)

Sevilla’s young French centre-back Jules Kounde is another player on United’s radar, though the towering Torres is perhaps a more ready-made fit for the Premier League.

The Villarreal star, who is currently sidelined with a minor muscle injury, has excelled under Unai Emery this season and helped his side to the quarter-finals of the Europa League and could even meet United in the final of the competition.

In addition to a new centre-back, United have also been heavily linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland – though face plenty of competition and would need to stump up a mammoth transfer fee.


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