Chelsea aren’t short of centre-backs with Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen, Trevoh Chalobah, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva at their disposal, but Thomas Tuchel may have to plan for the departure of a few defenders as contracts are expiring without new deals being lined up.
Christensen doesn’t intend to extend his contract beyond the summer and is nearing a move to Barcelona. Rudiger isn’t extending his deal either and is nearing a move to Real Madrid. Tuchel will be short of starters in defence, as Sarr and Chalobah have played a supporting role this season, so replacements will be needed.
Rudiger has been Thiago Silva’s regular defensive partner, so Chelsea need a talented centre-back who can fill his large shoes. La Razon (h/t Sport Witness) say Pau Torres may be the one. The 25-year-old rose through the youth ranks to Villarreal’s first-team and has gone on to make 127 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals with four assists.
Torres has made 28 Liga appearances this season, helping to keep 10 clean sheets. He’s won 54/90 aerial duels, completed 86.4% of his 1789 passes, blocked 18 shots, made 91 clearances, given away only one foul every 177 minutes, averaged a tackle (25) or interception (17) every 58 minutes and has been dribbled past just once every 619 minutes.
The Spanish international has a release clause of €60m (£50.6m) but may be available for slightly less this summer. Torres has spent his professional career at Villarreal but may be open to moving up the career leader after impressing in the last two years.
Chelsea won’t be able to sign players until the sanctions against them are lifted, however, so no move for Torres can go through until a takeover is complete – consortiums led by Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Pagliuca are competing for ownership.
The Blues are under embargo until Roman Abramovich is taken over.