Mats Hummels would be open to moving to Manchester United if current employers Borussia Dortmund were to accept a transfer offer for his services, it has been claimed.
This is according to latest reports from The Guardian, which claim that, while it is believed there is an expectation around the German international - who is currently performing an integral role for his country at the World Cup - that he may remain at Signal Iduna Park, he would nevertheless be open to a switch to Old Trafford if the opportunity arose.
Crucially, the same source further suggests that Hummels is a fan of new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, with the two having spent a brief period together at Bayern Munich before the former completed a move away from the Allianz Arena.
Lack of quality defensive options
Such speculation will surely be a source of great encouragement to Van Gaal and Manchester United fans during a summer when they are expected to continue to make sizeable additions in the transfer market.
The recent departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic - both of whom who had come to the end of their respective contracts at Old Trafford - have seriously increased the need for the club to invest in quality new defensive additions, particularly if Manchester United are to have any hope of getting back into Premier League title contention.
Hummels certainly appears a popular choice of target for Van Gaal, unsurprising giving the impeccable form he has displayed for both club and country over recent years.
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Competition for Hummels
Manchester United's path to the 25-year-old appears far from clear, however. Even in the event that Dortmund and Jurgen Klopp do allow him to move on, Barcelona are also known to be extremely keen on Hummels as they seek to reinforce their own defence under new management following the retirement of Carles Puyol.
Hummels' admiration for Van Gaal could work in their favour, however, as could the presence of popular Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa - a player who struggled more than most during the reign of previous manager David Moyes- in any potential transfer negotiations.
While many fans are still understandably desperate to see Kagawa prove his worth at Manchester United, Van Gaal will surely be aware of his overwhelming popularity at Dortmund and the significant advantage that could give them over the likes of Barcelona when it comes to the pursuit of the excellent Hummels.
If they wish to pursue a straight-cash deal for Hummels, it is believed he could cost as much as £30 million.