Arsenal are ready to challenge Manchester United for Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels, who could be available for £30 million, reports The Sunday Mirror.
Arsene Wenger has contacted the Bundesliga outfit asking to be kept informed should Manchester United make a significant bid for the 25-year-old. Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has told reporters that Hummels is not for sale, but a bid in the region of £30 million would convince them to sell.
Manchester United challenge
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has been the only Premier League manager to show an interest in the Germany international and seemed favourite to land his signature after Barcelona dropped out of the race. However, with renewed financial strength and Champions League football on offer, Arsenal represent formidable challengers in the transfer market.
Although Arsenal are not going to be frontrunners in making a move for Hummels, Wenger will not allow Van Gaal's pursuit go unchallenged. The Frenchman is ready to battle should Dortmund decide to sell for a matchable price.
Short at the back
Wenger gave little away when asked about transfer targets after Arsenal's 5-1 win over Benfica, but he did admit that he could dip back into the market, specifically citing the defence as a concern.
Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are likely to remain first choice at the Emirates Stadium, but if Thomas Vermaelen departs as expected, only the inexperienced Calum Chambers will be left as understudy. It is then when Wenger is likely to make his fifth signing of the summer.
Interestingly, if Vermaelen is allowed to leave for Manchester United, then Van Gaal is unlikely to move for Hummels, giving Arsenal a clear run at the World Cup winner. However, it is believed Wenger is keen to make sure his captain does not leave for a Premier League rival and will instead try to push the Belgium international towards Barcelona.
The La Liga giants are keen on Vermaelen, but may baulk at Arsenal's £10 million asking price. Not only is Vermaelen's form and fitness a concern for any suitor, but he also has just one year left on his Arsenal deal and will be available for free next summer.