Manchester United suffered with defensive issues last season, a mixture of injuries and an inconsistent line up led to their worst home record in over a decade, and now they have lost both of their standout defenders in recent seasons.
United need to invest in most areas of the squad this off season, but central defence has become a particular priority with Nemanja Vidic completing a free transfer to Inter Milan and Rio Ferdinand not being offered a new contract.
Phil Jones and Chris Smalling did not live up to expectation last season and Jonny Evans spent part of the season injured.
Hummels must be top of the list
This summer, United have been linked with whole host of names, none more so than Matts Hummels. The German defender, who is currently on World cup duty with his national team in Brazil, has become one of the most coveted centre backs in world football following impressive displays for his country and Borussia Dortmund.
Hummels has been quoted as saying that he could potentially move to Old Trafford at some point but expects to still be playing at Dortmund next season.
However, Louis van Gaal should push everything he can into making that happen this summer because it won't matter how much attacking talent they have if they don't improve on the defensive frailties of last term.
Hummels having an outstanding world cup
Hummels performance in Germany's opening World cup game against Portugal was outstanding. He looked in control throughout the game and, despite facing a team containing the World Player of the Year, he rarely looked troubled alongside his central defensive partner Per Mertesacker.
He capped off his display with a powerful header for Germany's second goal, showing that he is just as capable in the opposition box as in his own. That point is very relevant when discussing finding a replacement for Vidic as he was always a threat for United at set pieces.
Manchester United are famous for developing young players and that should continue under Van Gaal, but such was the nature of the poor season for them last year, they really need to bring in some proven top class experience to help with the development of those younger players.
Phil Jones would benefit
Hummels would be a perfect fit to help groom Phil Jones into a player capable of making central defence his position, hopefully continuing the education he was getting from Vidic and Ferdinand.
At 25-years-old he is the perfect age for a big transfer and United could be secure in the knowledge that they are investing their money in a player proven at the highest level. A product of the German model that has led to their national side being so successful, this could definitely be seen as being a sound purchase.
It would seem however, that both Hummels and Dortmund are reluctant to entertain the idea of a transfer, but every player does have his price in this day and age and if Van Gaal is serious about changing United's fortunes, Hummels is exactly the sort of player he should be looking at.
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