Manchester United fans would have been forgiven for thinking that Louis van Gaal was set to announce the capture of Mats Hummels this week, given the recent media drive behind the idea.
No deal for Hummels
However the saga has taken another twist today, after it emerged that Jurgen Klopp has no intentions of allowing him to leave. Only yesterday it was claimed that the German international had agreed a move to Old Trafford, and a fee would be paid around the £16million mark.
Despite this though Klopp was resolute in confirming that Hummels would be playing for Dortmund next season, according to Metro, and used a sponsor’s event yesterday to rubbish talk of having already consented to his centre-back's departure.
Though Van Gaal will likely continue to try to sign the 25-year-old, particularly given the fact that Ed Woodward has flown home from the pre-season tour of the U.S to do just that, the Dutchman faces a stern fight and could well be better focusing his attentions of Feyenoord youngster Stefan de Vrij.
The young centre-back may not have nearly as much experience as his German counterpart, but Van Gaal has worked with him with the Netherlands national team, and has been credited as having shown as interest heading into this summer's window. Another alternative would be Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen, who is a more like for like fit given the fact he's played a high level for a number of seasons.
Whatever route Van Gaal decides to go down, it's not looking likely to include Hummels. With Klopp's statement which laughed off a £16million move to Old Trafford comes the realisation that he knows he must hold onto his best players if Dortmund are to succeed. Robert Lewandowski's loss has cut deep and, with persistent rumours surfacing which throw Marco Reus' future into doubt, Klopp has been left scrambling.
Training ground changes
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom for United’s new manager, and reports claim he’s been successful with regards to convincing his own club that they need to completely change their training facilities. The Carrington complex has not only seen trees planted to protect the first-team pitches from adverse weather, but it’s now also said that the turf will be replaced in an effort to replicate the conditions at Old Trafford.
This follows reports that Van Gaal was concerned about the levels of wind exposure about Carrington, as he feared it could have an adverse effect on his training sessions.