By Jonty Banks

10th May, 2023 | 11:10am

Aston Villa transfer news as Chelsea emerge in race for £55m Pau Torres deal

Unai Emery is set to face stiff competition from Chelsea if he wishes to reunify with Pau Torres at Aston Villa this summer.

The Villa manager has previously waxed lyrical about the defender, who was an integral cog in Villarreal’s turnaround under the Spanish manager, labelling him an “amazing player” and adding he has “never seen a centre-back like Pau Torres” during his career.

However, if Torres is going to join his former protege in the West Midlands next season, Aston Villa will first have to blow inbound Chelsea manager Pochetinno out of the water to complete the signing.

Torres’ current contract with the Spanish club runs until 2024 after signing an extension back in 2019, and the Daily Mirror [Wednesday, 10 May, page 48] has reported that it contains a £55million release clause that both Villa and the Blues are eyeing up.

“Chelsea are ready to rival Aston Villa for £55million Spain star Pau Torres,” the report said.

“Villarreal centre-back Torres is wanted by both clubs, who have watched him in action in La Liga.

“Chelsea need to sell players to cut costs and reduce the size of their squad for incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino. But the Argentine also wants new signings and is a long-term admirer of Torres.”

The 26-year-old unsurprisingly fits Emery’s tactical blueprint to a T, being happy to play out from the back and deliver progressive passes through the lines.

According to the Opta-powered stats on FBREF, the Spain international is in the 95th percentile of European centre-backs over the last year for progressive passes (5.70 per 90) as well as sitting in the top 3% of his counterparts for progressive carries (2.17 per 90) and successful take-ons (0.67 per 90).

Torres also averages more passes per outing (63.3) than Diego Carlos (46.3), Ezri Konsa (50.2) and Tyrone Mings (55.8), clearly highlighting his happiness to control the pace of the game through his own actions instead of having to rely on his midfield. [Whoscored]

Aston Villa will need further centre-back depth if fellow defender Calum Chambers is offered a route away from Villa Park this summer, with the Daily Mirror sharing that the Englishman was part of Emery’s original plans for an overhaul at B6 in January.

Although Pochettino is lurking for the services of Torres, the lure of working with Emery once again will hopefully help Aston Villa get this deal over the line.

In other Aston Villa news, the club have expressed an interest in signing one record-breaking striker, but they are likely to face some stiff competition for his services.