Manchester United are reportedly set to propose a player-plus-cash deal to Villarreal to sign Pau Torres, with Eric Bailly moving the other way.
According to a report by TEAMtalk, Manchester United are not ready to shell out £60 million to sign Pau Torres. However, the Red Devils are willing to offer Eric Bailly as a makeweight to Villarreal in order to reduce their outlay for the Spanish international.
Bailly joined Manchester United in the summer of 2016 from Villarreal and was an instant success at Old Trafford, becoming a regular in defence in no time. However, in the last few seasons, his growth has been hampered by a spate of injuries and as a result, he has fallen down the pecking order of centre-backs.
The Ivorian has once again been hindered by fitness issues so far this term and is behind Victor Lindelof in the quest of being Harry Maguire’s first-choice central defensive partner. It now looks like Manchester United are ready to cut their losses on Bailly to sign a priority defensive target.
Pau Torres has been on the radar of Manchester United and several other top clubs across Europe, including Real Madrid, following a superb 2019/20 campaign. The Spanish international has continued to impress early on in the current campaign and the interest in him has not wavered.
The continued interest from Manchester United, in particular, makes a great deal of sense, keeping in mind Bailly’s injury woes in addition to the fact that Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are surplus to requirements. That leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Axel Tuanzebe as the only other senior centre-back at his disposal apart from first-choice duo Maguire and Lindelof.
As a result, it is understandable why they would want to sign another centre-back, with former star defender Jonny Evans also popping up on their agenda, as per reports. However, when it comes to Pau Torres, Manchester United are not willing to meet his £60 million valuation by triggering his release clause.
To that end, they are willing to offer Villarreal a player-plus-cash deal, which would see Bailly move back to Estadio de la Ceramica. That way, Manchester United are hoping to have his price tag reduced, although it is unclear if the Spanish outfit will be willing to accept such an offer.
Re-signing Bailly could help them replace Torres without any outlay, although his fitness issues do make him a potential liability. Having said that, it remains to be seen if Manchester United can bypass Torres’s £60 million with a player-plus-cash deal involving Bailly.