Thursday, October 6, 2022

Update In Arsenal’s Pursuit Of This La Liga Defensive Ace: A Big Blow For The Gunners?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

As reported by Express, Guillem Balague has confirmed that Arsenal target Pau Torres will not be leaving Villarreal this summer. The defender is keen on remaining at his current club next season, which serves as a massive blow for the Gunners. Torres reportedly has a £43 million release clause, but with the player unwilling to leave Villarreal, Arsenal practically need to move on.

Pau Torres: Player profile

A product of the Villarreal youth academy, Torres has emerged as one of the best defenders in La Liga. He has been an ever-present figure in the Villarreal first-team, having made 24 league appearances. His contributions in the backline have helped the Yellow Submarines compete in the first half of the league table.

Standing at 1.91m, Torres has indeed made an impression with his imposing presence at the back. He is an excellent sweeper of the ball, mainly thanks to his long legs that allow him to make essential tackles from behind. The Spaniard has notably made 4.7 clearances per game, which is pretty impressive even for a centre back.

However, it is Torres’ passing that has caught the eye. The 23-year-old is reasonably comfortable on the ball and is capable of threading long diagonal passes that significantly ease his team’s build-up from the back. The defender has attained an 84% pass completion rate this season averaging a whopping 6.2 accurate long balls per game, which is among the highest in the league.

Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian defender Felipe (L) and Villarreal’s Spanish defender Pau Torres jump for the ball during the Spanish league football match Club Atletico de Madrid against Villarreal CF at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on February 23, 2020. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Why Arsenal will rue missing out on Torres

It is no secret that Arsenal have one of the leakiest defences in the Premier League. The Gunners have no shortage of experienced options at the back. But, the lack of composure, leadership and technical prowess have seen struggle, especially against an aggressive first line of press.

Torres, in that regard, could have been an ideal addition to the Arsenal backline. His ability to bring the ball out from the back, combined with his positioning and tackling would have added a new dimension to the defence. And alongside a physically astute defender like Luiz or Sokratis, Mikel Arteta could have found the ideal central defensive pairing.

But, with Torres sets to remain at Villarreal, Arsenal will now have to look elsewhere. The arrival of William Saliba is an exciting prospect for the north London giants, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Frenchman could thrive at the highest level of football.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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