Manchester United target Mats Hummels admits it is an "honour" to be linked with Spanish giants Barcelona.

TalkSPORT reports how the 23-year-old German international is widely regarded as one of the finest defenders in all of Europe, after helping his current side to back-to-back Bundesliga titles.

Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been credited with an interest in bringing Hummels to Old Trafford as he seeks to shore up his leaky defence, as well as identify a long-term replacement for club veteran Rio Ferdinand.

However, Manchester United could face competition for the centre-back's signature, with Barcelona rumoured to be keen on luring the Dortmund star to the Nou Camp.

And, the fact that Hummels appears moved by speculation the Catalan club is courting him, suggestions are that the Premier League leaders are fighting a losing battle.

"Barca, from my point of view, is the best team in the world and it is an honour to be linked with them," he told German TV station RTL.

"Regarding the Barcelona rumour, I read it in the newspapers. My father asked me about it and I told him 'you should know, you're my agent!'"

Ferguson sent his chief Manchester United scout to run the rule over Hummels during Germany's goalless draw with Holland last month, with a view to making a bid for him in the January transfer window.

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