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Villarreal have increased Pau Torres’s release clause with the Liverpool-linked defender now expected to cost about £59 million, according to La Razon.

After months of searching, it looks for all the world like Luis Enrique has finally found Sergio Ramos’s central defensive partner.

Unai Nunez, Eric Garcia, Inigo Martinez and Diego Llorente have all been given a chance.

But with Torres starting each of Spain’s last four competitive international matches, the smart money is now on the Villarreal youngster featuring alongside the legendary Ramos when the European Championships kick off in June.

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A move to arguably the finest football team on the continent would do Torres’s burgeoning international reputation no harm at all either.

90Min reports this classiest of central defenders is one of a number of exciting, improving stoppers on Liverpool’s radar as the Premier League champions look to compensate for the absence of Virgil van Dijk.

Torres won’t come cheap, however.

He has a substantial release clause in his contract – less than Jules Kounde’s at Sevilla but almost double the one in Dayot Upamecano’s RB Leipzig deal.

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La Razon reports that, perhaps because of increasing interest, Villarreal have added another £15 million to Torres’s release clause, meaning his value has soared from about £45 million to just shy of £59 million.

Blessed with a Van Dijk-esque passing range and a real burst of pace, Torres has all the tools to be a world-class defensive talent.

And Liverpool, having broken their transfer record three times in the John W Henry era, have demonstrated they are willing to break the bank when the opportunity arises.

Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

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