clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What can we expect from Pau Torres? Villarreal fan Jamie gives honest views on Aston Villa’s new signing

Pau Torres has signed for Aston Villa, but what can we expect from the Spanish defender? We asked Villarreal supporter Jamie Kemble for his opinion!

7500: Aside from the likes of Pau Torres and Nicolas Jackson leaving the Estadi de la Ceramica for the Premier League this summer, how have Villarreal’s recruitment efforts gone so far?

Jamie Kemble: The club have managed some smart signings of free agents, snapping up Ben Brereton-Diaz, Santi Comesana and Denis Suarez, but clearly there have been more high profile departures than incomings at this point. Ultimately, it’s just come to the point where some players have earned the opportunity to move on, and Pau is one of those.

It will be interesting to see how some of the big money the club has brought in is reinvested, given there are now some serious holes to fill..

7500: Focusing in on Pau Torres now, what’s the general consensus within the Villarreal fan base in regards to the defender’s abilities as a player - is he a Champions League calibre player?

Jamie Kemble: Pau has already proven he is that calibre of player during his career so far.

He reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and won the Europa League with Villarreal, barely putting a foot wrong along the way. He has also represented Spain at the highest level, although he wasn’t helped by Luis Enrique, at times, playing alongside another left-footed centre-back.

Nonetheless, like any player in his position, there may be the very rare mistake, but he is cool, composed and an elite player, particularly with the ball on the floor.

7500: From a tactical perspective, in what sort of setup/formation(s) does Torres thrive in as a ball playing central defender?

Jamie Kemble: You’ve already said it. Torres is superb with the ball at his feet, able to pick out both short and long passes.

During his Villarreal career he has been asked to make passes in risky areas, setting the tone from the back, and he has rarely been caught out. Under Emery, we saw Villarreal make some risky decisions at the back, drawing the opposing side close with the aim of escaping with quick, short passes between the defence and up through the midfield. Pau was always well-suited to that style given his technical ability on the ball.

He’s a left-sided centre-back who is comfortable on the ball anywhere on the pitch, but a right-footed partner who commands the air is a good idea - like Villarreal had with Raul Albiol.

Villarreal CF v RC Celta - LaLiga Santander Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

7500: What are Torres’ greatest strengths as a central defender and what areas of his game are lacking/could he improve upon?

Jamie Kemble: We’ve already covered the biggest strengths, which are his composure on the ball and ability to play out of tight spaces or to set attacking moves in motion, so we will focus a little on his weaknesses.

Pau is a confident header of the ball, but it’s no secret he is not asked to do it a whole lot at Villarreal. If he has any sort of space, he is expected to bring the ball down and play it out of his feet, and long balls into the box are usually taken care of by Albiol. Pau has made his fair share of headed clearances, but with his first instinct being to bring it down, you wonder how he will react to the change in style in the Premier League, where there are a lot more long balls played into that area of the pitch. Then again, he is working with Emery who will still likely ask Pau to play the ball.

In terms of mistakes on the ball, when they rarely occur, they have been overplaying the ball at the back, but that’s the kind of thing managers like Emery will take the blame for, well aware that it is a direct result of telling a player to take risks.

It will also be interesting to see who Pau is paired with at the back, and allowing him to develop a steady relationship with his centre-back partnership will be important. I believe we haven’t seen the best of him in a Spain shirt because of that reason - the ever-changing formula.

7500: With Torres’ move to Aston Villa now official, how do Villarreal fans feel about the news? Are there any hard feelings?

Jamie Kemble: With no direspect to Aston Villa, I think there is an underwhelming feeling about the transfer. Pau was always destined for big things, and he is a player capable of playing Champions League football. I know Villa are a big club, but Villarreal have outperformed them for the last couple of decades - let alone years - so while this is a good opportunity for him to raise his profile, it does feel like a backwards step if we are talking in sporting terms, and he is good enough to play at a top club.

That aside, Pau has given everything to his hometown club, winning the Europa League before turning down Tottenham to lead the club to its joint-best Champions League performance. He has a training ground named after him, and he will always be a legend at the club. He was always going to leave with the blessing of the fans.

7500: From your point of view, do you believe that Torres can be a success at Aston Villa and in the Premier League?

Jamie Kemble: I do. Like any defender going into a new league, there may be some time needed to adapt, and like I mentioned before, getting Torres an experienced partner will be a big help. If he has someone to lean on for the physical side of things, you’ll see the best of Torres’ ability on the ball, and the two players should compliment each other nicely.

Ultimately, he has Emery there to lean on, and the two would go to war for each other. Emery loves Torres to bits, both as a player and as a person, and that will guarantee Pau the time and trust he needs to adapt and find his best form. Throw in his ability, and you have a real formula for this transfer to work out, even if it does take a little time - which is no shame when you see the development path of Lisandro Martinez last year.

Pau Torres will wear the number 14 shirt at Aston Villa.