Manchester United are believed to be considering a move for Villarreal centre-back and Spain international Pau Torres to strengthen at the back next season. However, Chris Smalling could yet return to Manchester from his loan spell at Roma.
United currently have seven first-team centre-backs overall but the club is looking to move on Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Smalling, while Axel Tuanzebe has been out for most of the 2019/20 season as a result of injuries and won’t be available again until September.
Centre-back is one of five positions that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still seeking to boost as he tries to build a squad capable of challenging for major honours. So far, four of the nine targeted transfers he identified when he was first hired have been addressed.
Players like Kalidou Koulibaly and Jan Vertonghen have been linked with switches to Old Trafford, but at 29 and 33 respectively neither fits the club’s preferred profile of young developing talent.
Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake is a player who does fit that and remains of interest, while The Times now reports that 23-year-old Torres is another on United’s list of potential options. He is also being watched by Manchester City, who 90min revealed want two new centre-backs this summer.
Both clubs have also enquired about Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, with the 25-year-old valued at £75m. That is more than the £65m Koulibaly is expected to be available for, although Skriniar is four years younger, offering more long-term potential, and neither has been put off by the price.
Arsenal and Chelsea have also been keeping an eye on Torres, whose release clause is at least £45m.
But whether United will still be able to pursue a new central defender if Smalling returns to Old Trafford is unclear, with The Times further noting that he will be back in the squad if Roma don’t make an acceptable offer to turn his loan into a permanent deal.
United are already not expected to extend Smalling’s loan any further because they are keen to sell, potentially preventing him from playing for Roma in the remaining rounds of the Europa League. The latest on that is reported by Corriere dello Sport, who explain that no deal has yet been reached.
Source : 90min