Manchester United have perfect player to sweeten Pau Torres negotiations if required

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Manchester United are seemingly yet to decide whether they will firm up their interest in Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres with new manager Erik ten Hag keen on recruiting defensive reinforcements. The Dutchman is also understood to be monitoring the future of his former Ajax player Jurrien Timber, who has also worked his way onto United’s summer shortlist – among other options.

But the reality of the situation is that United are unlikely to sign two centre-backs this summer, meaning they will have to pick between the options that have made their way onto their shortlist.

Torres is arguably the most established player on their radar given he is a full Spanish international at the age of 25.

He also has Champions League and major tournament experience for both club and country – which would suggest he is ready to make the next step.

However, given the vast number of Premier League clubs that have shown interest including Tottenham and Chelsea, he will not come cheap.

It’s believed Villarreal would be seeking to acquire a fee in the region of £45m to agree to the sale of Torres and that is a considerable figure for a club that has already spent £120m on centre-backs in the past three summer transfer windows.

There is also uncertainty as to how much United will have to spend and with other areas of their squad in desperate need of a revamp, centre-back is unlikely to be a top priority.

But if United want to try and haggle a deal at a cheaper cost, they have an ideal sweetener to offer Villarreal in the form of their ex-player Eric Bailly.

The Ivory Coast international was immense with the Yellow Sub Marine before completing a £30m switch to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016.

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Despite signing a new deal with United last April, his future at the club remains uncertain.

A number of clubs including AC Milan have previously looked at signing Bailly but to no avail. Yet it remains clear he is unlikely to feature at the heart of United’s defence.

For whatever reason, the Red Devils have struggled to offload and that’s why including Bailly as a makeweight in a deal for Torres could make perfect sense.

Villarreal would be landing an assured replacement whilst also receiving an additional fee on top of the swap deal.

While there are no guarantees the La Liga club would accept, there would certainly be no harm in asking the question.

United need to offload some of the deadwood within their squad, something they are seemingly bad at given the vast number of players leaving on free transfers this summer.

Bailly is only 28 and still has a lot to give at the top level after spending the past few years on the bench.

He has shown just how good he can be on several occasions, despite being prone to an error.

And if United were to successfully negotiate a deal for Torres at a lower price while offloading Bailly at the same time, it really is a no-brainer.

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