Four players who have played for Manchester United and Villarreal amid Pau Torres links

Spain and Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres has been linked with a big-money move to Manchester United this summer.

The 25-year-old’s agents are planning to travel to hold talks with the Red Devils this week, claims local Villarreal newspaper El Periodico Meditteraneo.

The left-footed centre-halve played a key role in helping the Yellow Submarine beat Juventus and Bayern Munch en-route to the Champions League semi-finals this season.

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But Unai Emery’s side finished seventh in La Liga which means the El Madrigal side will play in the Conference League next season.

The lack of Champions League income has put Villarreal under financial pressure to sell their prized asset this summer and Erik ten Hag’s side look to be part of the chasing pack.

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Players who have played for Manchester United and Villarreal

After shipping 57 goals in the Premier League this season, Ten Hag seems intent on tightening up a leaky backline and with two years left to run on his Villarreal contract, and with United not possessing a left-footed centre-back, Torres looks to be high up on United’s summer wish-list.

With the 17-cap Spanish international, who was part of the Villarreal side who beat United in last season’s Europa League final, linked with a switch to the Theatre of Dreams, we take a look at the four players who have played for Manchester United and Villarreal.

Eric Bailly

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The last transfer dealing between the two clubs saw Jose Mourinho sign Bailly from Villarreal for a free around £30m in June 2016.

Upon the Ivory Coast international’s arrival to Manchester, the Portuguese said Bailly had the “potential to become one of the best around”.

Injuries and an inability to stay fit have derailed the 28-year-old’s career and he hasn’t featured for Manchester United in 2022.

Despite signing a new contract, which is one of five contract extension mistakes Manchester United made, in April, United’s number three has only made seven appearances this season.

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With Phil Jones seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order, the Ivorian has effectively become United’s fifth-choice centre-back.

Although Ten Hag has said he will make his own mind up on the current Manchester United crop of players, it’s hard to see a way back for Bailly.

Using Bailly as part of the Torres deal may allow United to drive Villarreal’s asking price down.

Diego Forlan

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Manchester United paid £6.9m to sign the Uruguayan striker from Independiente in January 2002, and his best moment in a United shirt undoubtedly came at Anfield in December 2002 when he embarrassed Jerzy Dudek and scored a brace in a 2-1 win.

However, Forlan struggled to flourish at Old Trafford and after two-and-a-half years in Manchester, which brought 17 goals from 97 games, as well as a 27-game goal drought, Forlan headed to La Liga with Villarreal.

His form in eastern Spain, which included winning the European golden boot in his first season with 25 goals, prompted Atletico Madrid to sign him for £14m in 2007. Forlan finished his Villarreal career with 58 goals from 125 games.

From 198 matches for Los Colchoneros, Uruguay’s third all-time top scorer netted 96 goals. In the 2008/09 La Liga season, Forlan scored 32 goals, and he scored both the goals which broke Fulham’s hearts, in the 2010 Europa League final.

Giuseppe Rossi

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The talented Italian has been plagued with serious injuries throughout his career and the setbacks have constantly thwarted Rossi’s ability to perform at the highest level.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed the youngster from Parma in 2004 but after three years in Manchester, which had seen the left-footer have loan spells with Newcastle United and Parma, as well as scoring four goals in 14 appearances for the Red Devils, Rossi moved to Villarreal.

Rossi would spend five-and-a-half years in Spain and in his first four seasons, the 35-year-old scored 10 or more goals in every La Liga campaign.

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But Rossi suffered the first of three serious injuries across four years in October 2011 when he sustained a cruciate knee ligament injury. He joined Fiorentina in January 2013 after scoring 82 goals from 191 games for Villarreal.

Prior to suffering another cruciate knee ligament injury in January 2014, during his time with Fiorentina, Rossi had scored 16 goals from 21 Serie A games.

Ross missed the entirety of the 2014-15 season through injury and he’s currently playing in Serie B with SPAL.

Antonio Valencia

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Valencia was at Villarreal for two-and-a-half years, but only made two first-team appearances, before joining Wigan Athletic on a permanent deal, following a loan spell with the Latics.

Sir Alex Ferguson made the Ecuadorian winger Manchester United’s first signing since Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid in 2009.

The Reds paid Wigan £16m to secure the services of the pacey winger, in the summer of 2009, and he became United’s number seven in 2012 after previously wearing the number 25 shirt.

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

But after a season of wearing the number seven shirt Valencia decided to move back to the number 25 jersey.

Over time, Valencia developed himself into one of the Premier League’s best right-backs and his rampaging runs from deep proved to be a real asset in United’s attack.

Valencia made 339 appearances for Manchester United and two Premier Leagues, two League Cups, an FA Cup and the Europa League.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.