Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres has given the reason why he rejected a summer transfer move to Tottenham Hotspur.
The 16-capped Spain international was heavily linked with a move away from the Estadio de la Ceramica after helping Unai Emery’s men win the Europa League at the backend of last season.
A host of Premier League clubs were heavily linked with his signature and it is believed Spurs offered €60m to Villarreal, on top of a wage package that is said to be four times what he currently earns at the Valencian club.
However, the 24-year-old was enticed by the chance to lead out his boyhood club for Champions League nights this season, a result of their Europa League success, and says Villarreal’s chairman didn’t put any pressure on him to leave, despite the lucrative offer on the table.
“The pull of playing the Champions League with the team from my town was bigger,” he told The Guardian. “I was clear from the start.
“This is only the fourth time Villarreal reached the Champions League, which shows how hard it is and it was a dream to play the competition with my lifelong club.
“The president didn’t put pressure on me, even though they could make a lot of money. He always said ‘the decision’s yours’, that he’d respect it. I appreciate that.
“What I could experience with the club was unrepeatable. I’m comfortable in my town, with my close people, and the group we have and the people we signed – [Arnaut] Danjuma, Boulaye [Dia], Gerard [Moreno] renewed. I’m enjoying it. It’s a special year, the group is very close, that’s why I stayed.”
On the potential of a future move to the Premier League, Torres added: “Well, I still have a contract with various years left [until 2024].
“I thought about what was best for me in the present. I really wanted to play this competition with Villarreal – you don’t 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 two-legged and that situation’s one we experienced last year in the Europa League and feel comfortable with.”