Real Madrid have reportedly fallen behind Atletico Madrid in pursuit of Pau Torres, who has a €65 million release clause in his Villarreal deal.

According to a report by Spanish outlet El Gol Digital, Atletico Madrid lead Real Madrid in the race to sign Pau Torres from Villarreal in the summer transfer window. The Spanish international, tailed by several other top clubs across Europe, has a €65 million release clause in his contract with the La Liga outfit.

Torres has been one of the best defenders in the Spanish top-flight since enjoying a breakthrough campaign with Villarreal in the 2019/20 season. This past term saw him progress further while also becoming a full-fledged Spanish international. The campaign was also memorable as he helped Villarreal to win the UEFA Europa League.

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The 24-year-old made 44 appearances across all competition for the Yellow Submarine in 2020/21, chipping in with three goals and two assists as well. And at UEFA Euro 2020, Torres has been one of the ever-present figures for Spain, starting both of their games so far. His incredible growth has invariably piqued the interest of several clubs, two of whom are Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Real Madrid, along with Manchester United, have been hot on the trails of the Spanish defender for much of 2021 so far, and for good reason. Los Blancos are entering a period of transition following the departure of Zinedine Zidane, with just about every department likely to be reinforced.

Zidane’s exit has been quickly followed up by news that Sergio Ramos is leaving Real Madrid this summer. With Raphael Varane also facing an uncertain future at the club, it is hardly surprising that Real Madrid are keen on signing a replacement, with Torres being a viable target. However, Los Blancos now face stiff competition from Atletico Madrid.

In fact, as per the report, Atletico Madrid have taken the lead in the race to sign Torres this summer and a bevy of clubs are now being left behind in the race to sign him. The interest from the reigning La Liga champions is understandable as well, considering Stefan Savic and Jose Maria Gimenez have both been linked with a summer exit, with Felipe on the wrong side of 30.

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To that end, Torres is certainly an option worth considering as he could provide the best years of his career to a side that revels in defensive solidity. However, prising him away will require €65 million, the value of the release clause in his Villarreal deal, with Real Madrid only likely to make a move next summer.

Real Madrid’s stance and the interest in Jules Kounde seems to have worked in favour of Atletico Madrid, who can now possibly swoop Torres away from Villarreal by triggering his €65 million exit clause. What now remains to be seen is if Los Rojiblancos do indeed secure the services of the Spanish international this summer ahead of Real Madrid and others.

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