Manchester United have been busy in the transfer window so far, spending in excess of £60m on left-back Luke Shaw and midfielder Ander Herrera, with potential departures from the club also rumoured. And with United reportedly locked in negotiations with Juventus over the transfer of Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal, fans should not be under the illusion that potential incomings will end with another midfielder or two.
Louis Van Gaal is of course in the market for players to bolster the engine room, but he also realises that United are now worryingly short of players at centre-back. The departures of two of the Premier League’s best ever defenders in Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leaves a severe lack of options in that position. Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are the only remaining central defenders in United’s first team, which is a huge indicator that reinforcements are sorely needed.
One thing that the Reds have always possessed is a commanding centre back. Whether it be Vidic, Stam or Bruce, the club have been blessed with defensive warriors down the years. While United’s current trio are still young and are undoubtedly talented, they haven’t quite reached the level of some the illustrious names mentioned.
The Reds have been linked with other stoppers around Europe, namely Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen and Dutchman Stefan de Vrij of Feyenoord, who Van Gaal knows well having been his manager with the Netherlands. But one player who is of the highest of quality and would fit the United mould is Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels. Fresh from helping Germany to their fourth World Cup in Brazil, the centre back has all the attributes needed to be successful in the Premier League. He is intelligent, powerful, and comfortable on the ball. He can also score goals, which he proved in emphatic fashion in Brazil. But the most exciting thing about the big German is that he appears to be open to a move to Old Trafford.
If Hummels is indeed willing to part ways with Dortmund, and if the asking price is the bargain £20m that has been discussed in the press, Louis Van Gaal and Ed Woodward should act quickly and decisively in any attempt to sign the player. Having such an impressive World Cup only serves to attract other potential suitors from around Europe, with Barcelona reportedly among the other clubs interested, who of course would be able to offer Champions League football, something unfortunately lacking at Old Trafford this season.
There are many up-and-coming centre backs around Europe who would jump at the chance of joining the Red Devils, but there are very few defenders in world football currently on Mats Hummels’ level and a signing of his calibre would go a long way to filling the gaping hole left in the back four after Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand said their goodbyes to the club in recent months.
Do you think Mats Hummels is exactly what United needs in defence?