Arsenal are reportedly eyeing a £35million swoop for highly-rated Villarreal defender Pau Torres in January.

Mikel Arteta strengthened his defence in the summer with the £27m purchase of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille but the Gunners boss and technical director Edu are still keen on improving the back-line this season.

A deal for Spanish international Torres, who is also interesting Manchester United, would involve dialogue between Arsenal and Unai Emery at Villarreal but the Gunners are confident a transfer can be struck between the two parties, according to Spanish outlet todofichajes.com.

Emery became the coach at Villarreal in July on a three-year deal following his sacking at Arsenal in November 2019.

The report details that both Arsenal and United will battle it out for 23-year-old centre back Torres, who played 90 minutes for Spain in their Nations League games against Switzerland and Ukraine in the international break.

In addition, RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano was the first choice for both clubs but Liverpool are now believed to be the frontrunners for the France international, the report adds.

Torres, who came through the youth system at Villarreal, first impressed on loan at Malaga in the Segunda División in the 2018-19 season, before returning to the LaLiga club.

He did not miss a minute of league action last season but did sign a new contract last November until the summer of 2024, meaning any deal will not come cheap.

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