England's route to Euro 2020 glory
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Spain may have progressed to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 by beating Switzerland, but it has done nothing to ease Manchester United’s concerns over Pau Torres. The centre-back is one of the Red Devils’ alternative targets if they are not able to complete a deal for Real Madrid star Raphael Varane.
United are looking for a quality partner for Harry Maguire in the heart of their defence as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plots a Premier League title challenge next season.
Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have failed to prove they can be that partner, with both looking shaky when called upon last season.
That put bringing in a new centre-back high on Solskjaer’s shopping list for this summer’s transfer window.
Varane is at the top of the list, but his current club Madrid are holding out for more than the £50million bid United have submitted.
Madrid’s stalling over a deal saw United draw up a list of alternatives, which is headed by Villarreal star Torres.
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The 24-year-old has impressed in La Liga and helped Unai Emery’s side to win the Europa League, beating United in the final.
That form saw him named in the Spain squad for this summer’s European Championships and he has become a key member of Luis Enrique’s team.
He started both of Spain’s opening two group games, though it was a disappointing start despite Enrique’s side conceding just one goal.
Torres was dropped for La Roja’s next two matches at the tournament, though appeared as a substitute in both and notching two assists.
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He was recalled to the starting line-up by Enrique for the quarter-final against Switzerland in St Petersburg.
But rather than prove that Enrique was wrong to drop him following the 1-1 draw with Poland, Torres only created concern among United fans.
The Villarreal star was shaky throughout the match and was partly at fault when Xherdan Shaqiri equalised for the Swiss.
A ball was played over the top of the Spanish defence and as Aymeric Laporte came across to clear, Torres got in the way, sending the ball into the path of Shaqiri who slotted past Unai Simon.
Spain would ultimately go trhough on penalties, but Torres’ performances leaving some to compare him to the much-maligned Lindelof.
“Pau Torres would be considered an underwhelming signing. Too much Lindelof vibes,” one United fan tweeted.
“Pau Torres would simply bring me too much stress and anxiety when the opposition get a corner and I don’t need any more of that supporting this club,” added another.
Torres will hope to keep his place for his side’s semi-final against Belgium or Italy, though after his display against the Swiss that would appear unlikely.
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