Villarreal midfielder Pau Torres has admitted that the charm of playing Champions League football with his hometown was behind his decision to reject Tottenham this summer.
Spurs made a bid of around 60 million euros (50 million pounds) for the Spaniard as part of their aggressive search for a new defender. They fought back and also failed in an attempt to recruit Sevilla’s Jules Konde, and eventually settled on Cristian Romero from Atalanta instead.
The belief is that Spurs made an offer that would have seen Torres quadruple his weekly income, but despite that proposal, the 24-year-old admits that he had unfinished business with Villarreal.
“The pressure of playing the Champions League with the team from my city was greater,” he told The Guardian. – I was clear from the beginning.
“This is only the fourth time Villarreal have reached the Champions League, which shows how difficult it is and it was a dream to play for my lifelong club.
“The president did not put pressure on me, even though they could make a lot of money. He always said ‘the decision is yours’, that he would respect it. I appreciate that.
“What I could experience with the club could not be repeated. I am comfortable in my city, with my close people, and the group we have and the people we drew – [Arnaut] Danjuma, Boulaye [Dia], Gerard [Moreno] renewed… – meant we had a team to do amazing things. I enjoy it. It’s a special year, the group is very close, that’s why I stayed. ”
Despite that loyalty, Torres refused to rule out a move in the future. 90min understands that Chelsea are keeping an eye on the Villarreal man, while Spurs can choose to rekindle their interest because the new manager Antonio Conte is known for chasing a new midfielder.
“Yes, I still have a contract with several years left [until 2024]”I was thinking of what was best for me right now,” Torres said. I really wanted to play this competition with Villarreal: you do not know when that opportunity will come again.
“Let’s see how far we can go. We want to get out of the group, then it’s bipedal and that situation is one we experienced last year in the Europa League and feel comfortable with.”