Liverpool are desperate to sign €40m-rated Spain international

Villarreal have increased Pau Torres’s release clause with the Merseyside giants-linked centre-back now expected to cost about £59m. After months of searching, it seems for all the world like Luis Enrique has finally found Sergio Ramos’s central defensive partner.

Unai Nunez, Eric Garcia, Inigo Martinez and Diego Llorente have all been given an opportunity. But with Pau starting each of Spain’s last four competitive international games, the smart money is now on the Spanish club defender featuring alongside the legendary Ramos when the European Championships kick off in June.

A move to arguably the finest football team on the continent would do Torres’ burgeoning international reputation no harm at all either. This classiest of centre-backs is one of several exciting, improving stoppers on Reds radar as the PL champions look to compensate for the absence of Virgil van Dijk.

Spain international won’t come cheap, however. The 23-year-old centre-back has a substantial release clause in his deal less than Jules Kounde’s at Sevilla but almost double the one in Dayot Upamecano’s RB Leipzig deal.

Perhaps because of increasing interest, La Liga giants have added another £15m to Pau’s release clause, meaning his value has soared from about £45m to only shy of £59m.

Blessed with a Virgil-esque passing range and a real burst of pace, Pau has all the tools to be a world-class defensive talent. And the Reds, having broken their transfer record three times in the John W Henry era, have demonstrated they are willing to break the bank when the chance arises.