Manchester United Could Use Eric Bailly in Pau Torres Pursuit

Nov 30, 2020, 5:30 PM GMT
Pau Torres
Pau Torres is one of United's top defensive targets | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Manchester United could use Eric Bailly in order to land defensive target Pau Torres from Villarreal, according to one report.

Despite a recent upturn in results, United's defence instability has been a cause for concern for some time.

Though the Red Devils currently have as many as six first-team centre-backs, only Harry Maguire (the club captain) and Victor Lindelof look assured of their squad places - though both have also gone through difficult spells in recent months.

Harry Maguire
Manchester United have continued to look frail defensively at times this season | Pool/Getty Images

90min understands that finding a new centre-back is a United priority for 2021, while Villarreal's 23-year-old Torres is known to be high up on the club's wish list.

However, Torres has a contract that runs until 2024, while his release clause reportedly sits at around £60m, making him an expensive option for United or any other suitor.

In order to reduce their outlay, a report from TEAMtalk claims that United could use out-of-favour Eric Bailly to help lower the price of the Spain international.

Pau Torres
Pau Torres has seven Spain caps | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

26-year-old Bailly, who has made 89 appearances for the Red Devils, joined United from Villarreal back in 2016 for around £30m but has struggled with fitness issues and form in recent years.

TEAMtalk's report does not speculate as to whether Villarreal would be even interested in a return for the defender who spent 18 months at La Ceramica prior to his big-money move to England.

Bailly has made just four appearances in all competitions for United in 2020/21 and is seemingly behind Axel Tuanzebe in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's pecking order for now.

Torres, who has been linked with a host of top European clubs, emerged from the youth ranks at Villarreal and became a first-team regular last season after an initial breakthrough loan at Malaga in the Spanish second tier in 2018/19. He has seven senior Spain caps to date.

In addition to Torres, 90min understands that United are interested in RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano, Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Brighton's Ben White.