Manchester United and Tottenham may have to watch on as a classy international star heads to Aston Villa after Unai Emery’s side reportedly launched a ‘formal offer’ for him.
Villa managed to finish seventh in the Premier League under Emery, qualifying them for next season’s Europa Conference League. It will be the first time Villa have played in any kind of European competition since 2010.
Emery wants to bolster his squad with several new arrivals this summer to prepare Villa for the European campaign. Such signings will also help the team battle for a top six finish next term. Without the slow start they had under Steven Gerrard, Villa should be real contenders to make the Europa League spots, or perhaps go even higher.
One benefit of making the Europa Conference League place is that it should help Villa attract a slightly higher calibre of players than they would have been able to sign previously. Stars will see what Emery has planned and will want to be part of the journey.
And Emery, who was in charge of Villarreal before moving to the West Midlands, could reunite with Spain centre-back Pau Torres.
The 26-year-old has been with Villarreal for all of his professional career but is facing a big decision this summer. His contract expires in June 2024, which means he must decide whether to push for a move abroad or agree a long-term deal with the La Liga side.
Villa are among the clubs aiming to pounce on the uncertainty. Both Football Insider and Spanish outlet Cadena Ser claim Villans chiefs have been in contact with their Villarreal counterparts.
Cadena Ser state that Villa have submitted a ‘formal offer’ after previously expressing an interest in the defender.
Aston Villa waiting on Villarreal response
There is no mention of how much Villa’s bid is worth just yet, although that should emerge in the next few days. For context, transfermarkt currently value Torres at €45m (£39m), while his highest ever value on the site was €50m (£43m) in late 2022.
Villa are not the only team who like the look of Torres. Juventus are also interested and are currently weighing up whether to launch a proposal of their own. The fact they have yet to do this puts Villa at the front of the queue right now.
Villarreal must now decide whether the offer is enough for them to sell one of their best players. They are not in the strongest negotiating position currently as Torres’ contract runs out next year, which will give Villa hope of completing the deal.
Both Man Utd and Spurs may end up regretting their respective failures to land Torres. The two Premier League giants have been regularly linked with him to solve their defensive issues. But they have never been able to snare him, and Villa could now capitalise.
The 23-cap Spain international will likely thrive when playing under Emery again. This will result in his price tag skyrocketing, leaving Man Utd and Spurs wondering why they didn’t bring him in when they had the chance.