Chelsea have joined the race for Villarreal star Pau Torres, as Thomas Tuchel looks at new defensive options in 2022.
Thomas Tuchel has transformed the Blues since replacing Frank Lampard in January, helping the club win the Champions League by beating Manchester City in the finals in May. The German tactician’s back-three system with wing-backs has worked to treats, with centre-backs like Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah having all evolved into key members of the Pensioners’ squad, regardless of the triumvirate having once looked surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.
However, despite the remarkable success of Tuchel’s system, Chelsea are seemingly keen to strengthen their centre-back options. They were hugely interested in recruiting Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde in the summer but a move didn’t materialise. Having allowed Kurt Zouma to join West Ham in the past transfer window, the Blues have made it one of their top priorities of signing a centre-back.
Villarreal’s Pau Torres has emerged as a potential option for Chelsea ahead of the January transfer window. Torres, 24, is one of the most highly-rated defenders in Europe, enjoying a meteoric rise in stock in the past 12 months.
After lifting the Europa League trophy with Villarreal in May, the left-footed central defender featured for Spain at both Euro 2020 and the Olympics. The Spaniard was the subject of much interest from Manchester United, who were contemplating moving for Torres before Raphael Varane became available for transfer from Real Madrid.
Antonio Rudiger snubs new Chelsea contract
Antonio Rudiger is arguably playing at the peak of his powers for Chelsea, becoming one of Thomas Tuchel’s first names on the team sheet. However, the German international is out of contract in June and regardless of the club offering him a new deal, he has decided against penning fresher terms at Stamford Bridge.
The 28-year-old centre-back has already decided to leave Chelsea at the end of the summer, with his agent sounding out to many top European clubs ahead of a potential move, with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich the clubs that most appeal to the Chelsea star. Rudiger has recently rejected a new deal worth £5.5m a year, as his agent is asking for an eye-watering £8.5m.
The German international, who has won the FA Cup, the Champions League, the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup since arriving from AS Roma in 2017, is free to negotiate with foreign clubs in January having entered the final year of his contract at Chelsea.
Pau Torres could be a top acquisition for the Blues
With Rudiger rebuffing Chelsea’s latest contract offer, Thiago Silva not getting younger at 37 and Trevoh Chalobah lacking experience at the highest level, Tuchel is right in prioritising a move for a centre-back. In that regard, Pau Torres would be a good fit at Stamford Bridge.
A left-footed centre-back, Torres is technically sound and excels in his distribution skills and reading of the game. He is calm and composed on the ball, adept at initiating attacks from the back and snuffing out danger before growing. The Spaniard is decent in the air and has a good turn of pace through the ground.
While Torres has operated in a flat back four at Villarreal, he has the qualities to thrive in a back three system as the left-sided centre-back. At 24, the Spanish international’s peak years are still ahead of him and he could develop into one of the world’s best in his position under Tuchel if a move to Chelsea materialises next year.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.