Manchester United have finally given up in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, and will now step up their efforts to land Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal, according to the Daily Star.
Hummels was believed to be right at the very top of Louis van Gaal's transfer hitlist this summer, and a bid of around €20 million was reportedly lodged. However Dortmund have strongly denied that there is any chance that the defender could be sold this summer, with manager Jurgen Klopp assuring fans that both he and team-mate Marco Reus, who has also attracted interest from Manchester United, would be in Germany next season.
It seems that has been the final nail in the coffin of Manchester United's pursuit of Hummels, and rather than waste any more of their time the club will now focus on landing Vermaelen.
The Daily Star say that Hummels is no longer on the agenda and that the Arsenal man is considered as the best alternative in terms of price and availability.
The Belgian has been linked with a switch to Old Trafford for some weeks now, but progress has been limited. It was suggested that Manchester United's initial £6 million bid had been immediately rejected by Arsenal who were holding out for £11 million. The Gunners were also said to be keen on a cash-plus-player deal, but Manchester United have ruled that out.
The move for Vermaelen would also make sense because he could offer cover for Luke Shaw at left-back - a job designated to Patrice Evra before his switch to Juventus was confirmed.
Manchester United are likely to start next season with a back four that is radically different to the one that ended the last campaign. Along with Evra, both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have left the club. Shaw has arrived from Southampton in a deal which could be worth up to £31 million, but even with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in his squad, Van Gaal is still expected to sign at least one centre-back.
Along with Vermaelen, the Dutch coach could make a move for Feyenoord's Stefan de Vrij. He's been the subject of a bid from Lazio which has been rejected by the Dutch club, and Manchester United could now swoop for his services.
Along with De Vrij, Van Gaal could also make a move for another of his Dutch World Cup squad - Ajax utility man Daley Blind.
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