Manchester United’s scouts will have liked what they saw of Pau Torres at the weekend.
Torres is on United’s radar with The MEN reporting the Spanish international would be open to a move.
United will certainly have had scouts watching him in action at the weekend when his Villarreal side took on the Red Devil’s upcoming opponents Granada.
Even if the objective was principally to prepare for and check out Granada ahead of Thursday’s game, Torres will have made an impression.
Returned in fine form
Torres has been a reliable player for Villarreal this season, making a total of 33 appearances in all competitions so far.
He did miss the recent international fixtures with a minor injury, but was fit enough to start at the weekend as Villarreal travelled to United’s Europa League quarter-final opponents.
Villarreal won the game 3-0, with Torres playing a key part in keeping a clean sheet, partnering 35-year-old Raul Albiol at the back.
Torres even had one attempt on target and created one goalscoring opportunity, causing trouble in the opposition box.
He won two aerial duels and completed 86 per cent of his passes, and restricted Granada striker Roberto Soldado to just 17 touches in 73 minutes before he was substituted.
The display was one United’s defenders will be looking to emulate on Thursday as the team go looking to keep a clean sheet in Spain on the way to a first leg victory.
Torres has a £52 million release clause, although with The MEN reporting Villarreal would be open to a swap deal, there is a chance United could get him at a cheaper price if Eric Bailly is offloaded to his former club.
Bad warm-up for Granada
This was not the way Granada wanted to prepare to face Manchester United.
They selected a near full strength line up and were soundly beaten on home turf by Villarreal, managing just two shots on target.
The defeat leaves them ninth in La Liga, and it looks like they will miss out on European football. That places even more importance on these quarter-final ties, for the team to make the most of them.
United will be strongly fancied favourites over the two legs, and it is an easier tie than the previous one against AC Milan, but there is still a job to do. If the players have the wrong approach and underestimate Granada mentally, United could come unstuck.
There could be a date with Pau Torres in the final potentially, if United and Villarreal both get there.
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