Erik ten Hag gives green light to Man Utd pursuit of Pau Torres

Manchester United remain interested in Villarreal centre back Pau Torres and could press ahead with a deal for the Spaniard after Erik ten Hag backed the signing.

Ten Hag has been presented as United's new manager this week, arriving from Ajax as the replacement for interim manager Ralf Rangnick. The Dutchman will be joined in the dugout by assistants Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren.

While a number of players are expected to leave the club before the new season begins, with as many as six first-teamers out of contract, United are already at work on potential incomings too. A new centre-half and additions in central midfield are a priority, while a forward and right-back may also be on the agenda.

Torres, a Spanish international, has been a target of United's for some time. The club's scouting department had identified the 25-year-old ahead of the 2021 summer transfer window, though ended up signing Raphael Varane after Real Madrid decided to cash in on the player.

Varane was the top priority for the position at the time, but was at one point considered unattainable.

However, as 90min exclusively revealed at the start of April, United's interest in Torres remains ahead of the 2022 window. Any final decision was set to be made in conjunction with the new manager they installed, and Ten Hag has now signalled his intent for the deal to happen.

Ten Hag would like to add a central defensive option to push both Varane and club captain Harry Maguire for first choice roles, and Torres appears to fit the bill. Victor Lindelof remains at the club but will be allowed to leave for the right offer, though it's expected Eric Bailly, a former Villarreal defender himself, is the most likely departure to free up room in that department.

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90min understands United are leading the race for Torres as it stands, though both Chelsea and Tottenham are other interested Premier League parties who can also offer Champions League football.

United are in talks over a deal via intermediaries, with Torres' agency keen to agree personal terms with the Red Devils to signal intent on the player's side to make the move happen.

Torres has a £55m release clause in his Villarreal deal, though United are keen to ensure they pay closer to £45m for the player, who enjoyed another outstanding year in La Liga and European competition. Torres was a part of the Villarreal team that beat United in the 2021 Europa League final, while his side also advanced to this season's Champions League semi finals.

United have also spoken to Villarreal over Dutch winger Arnaut Danjuma, though at this point it is believed to have been no more than an enquiry.

Source : 90min