Has Luis Enrique finally found Sergio Ramos’s partner?
After testing out Diego Llorente, Unai Nunez, Inigo Martinez and Eric Garcia, the Spain boss appears to have settled, at last, on the man who will partner the Real Madrid captain at Euro 2021.
Pau Torres has started each of the last four competitive fixtures for La Roja, and his stand-out performances in the yellow of Villarreal at the start of 2020/21 have done his hopes of a starting berth next summer no harm at all.
Whether Torres will still be a Villarreal player by the time the European Championships finally kick off next June, however, is less certain.
The fastest centre-half in La Liga (and that’s official) has been linked with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea of late.
But, according to 90Min, it is now Liverpool who are battling their eyelashes in his direction.
The Premier League champions have identified Torres as a potential successor for the stricken Virgil van Dijk and, while he is yet to reach the Dutchman’s impeccable standards, he certainly shares a few similarities with Liverpool’s iconic number four.
Dominant in the air and blessed with a sublime range of passing, Torres is also a major presence in both boxes.
His goal in Villarreal’s 2-0 win over Real Valladolid on Monday – a result that lifted Unai Emery’s side into the Champions League places – was his third since the start of last term.
A £43 million release clause means he would also come relatively cheap in an era where the bidding for top-class central defenders tends to start at £60 million.
With sporting director Michael Edwards famed for his ability to unearth rough diamonds with potential by the bucket-load (see Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and more) Torres already feels like another Liverpool masterstroke.