Villarreal star Pau Torres is a potential target for Manchester City in the event that Aymeric Laporte leaves the club this summer.
What's the latest Man City transfer news?
According to a report from The Athletic, Laporte informed the club of his desire to return to Spain around six months ago.
Laporte has always been enticed by the prospect of moving back to Spain and the rise of John Stones and Ruben Dias as City's clear first-choice centre-back pairing has only added to that lingering feeling.
Though the 27-year-old is undoubtedly a brilliant defender and was actually City's most trusted defensive leader in the 2019/20 season, the club are willing to sell if a satisfactory offer is made.
The report claims that Pau Torres, who Laporte is likely to line up alongside at Euro 2020, is a player City could target if they receive a suitable fee for the former Athletic Bilbao man.
Torres currently has a buyout clause of €65m (£55.7m), and rumours linking him with Manchester United and Champions League winners Chelsea suggest he's one of the most in-demand defenders in Europe right now.
How did Torres perform in the 2020/21 season?
The 2020/21 campaign was history-defining for Villarreal and Torres' form was integral to their success in the Europa League.
Unai Emery's side beat Manchester United in the final to clinch the first major trophy in the club's entire history, with Torres playing every minute from the quarter-final onwards.
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Statistically Torres averaged 0.5 tackles, 0.7 interceptions and 0.8 blocks in his 33 La Liga appearances, per WhoScored.
They are not the most eye-catching numbers on paper but what they do is reveal his ability to marshal the defensive unit without needing to resort to last-ditch actions.
A certain Paolo Maldini was lauded for conducting his business in a similar vein, so perhaps City fans should be encouraged rather than concerned by his output.
What has Unai Emery said about Pau Torres?
Emery has thrived since leaving Arsenal and shown that the problems at the Emirates Stadium run much deeper than the manager.
The Spaniard has clearly enjoyed working with the 6ft 3 colossus since taking the reins in July 2020.
During an exclusive interview with football.london in January 2021, Emery tipped Torres to play for one of the top teams in Europe.
"Pau Torres is an amazing player - I think he’s top.
"I've been a coach in Sevilla, PSG, Arsenal and I’ve never seen a centre back like Pau Torres.
"I think he’s going to play at the highest level, he’s playing now in the national team but he can play in the top teams in Europe very soon."
Perhaps Emery's soon is Man City's now.