Aston Villa are closing in on the signing of Villarreal defender Pau Torres after Unai Emery made him a top summer target, Football Insider reports.
The Midlands giants are in contact with the Spanish club about a potential deal for the centre-back, 26, and are making some progress.
Villarreal want a £40million-plus fee for Torres, which would represent a club-record fee for the Premier League team.
But Villa believe that a deal could be done at a cheaper price, with the player out of contract in the summer of 2024.
Villa have targeted the Spain international as they look for an alternative to Tyrone Mings for the left-sided centre-back position at Villa Park.
Torres is highly regarded by Emery as well as the club’s new sporting director Monchi, and they also see him as a potential back-up at left-back.
Torres was instrumental in Villarreal’s transformation under Emery, including in their run to the 2021-22’s Champions League semi-final stage.
The Villa boss has been full of praise for the Spain international in the past as a player who was integral to the club’s turnaround back when he was in charge.
The manager insisted Torres is an “amazing player” and said he has “never seen a centre-back like Torres” despite having managed at some of the top clubs in Europe.
Since joining Villarreal in 2019, Torres has made 173 appearances and won the Europa League in 2021, the fourth time that Emery had triumphed in the competition.