As Manchester United head into the 2014/15 Premier League campaign under new management, it's no surprise that the club have been linked with a number of defenders in recent time.
After all, the Red Devils have lost a number of experienced defensive stars in this window, after the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra left the club. First team back-up Alex Buttner also departed the Theatre of Dreams, meaning United are in desperate need of improving their back-line.
Currently, with two weeks until the Premier League begins, United are lacking at the back, with the likes of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling representing the club's only real first team centre-halfs.
Two players who appear to be on Louis van Gaal's radar, however, are Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen and Borussia Dortmand's World Cup winning star Mats Hummels. If recent reports are to be believed, it appears that German ace Hummels is Van Gaal's dream signing for United in this window, whilst Vermaelen is also seen as a potential signing before the close of the window.
There's no doubt about it, Hummels would act as a fine signing for the Red Devils as they look to put last season's nightmare behind them. After losing Vidic and Co. Hummels would represent the world-class defender that United fans crave.
But, in reality, as the start of the new season draws closer, how likely is it that United are going to land the German superstar? Unfortunately for United fans, Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp doesn't seem too happy about the prospect of losing his prize asset at the back.
Vermaelen, on the other hand, is in need of a new challenge, and it appears that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will allow him to leave the club in this market. The potential signing of Vermaelen may not excite United fans as much as the possibility of landing Hummels, but the Belgian ace could play a key role at the Theatre of Dreams next term.
Vermaelen may have had a tricky time in north London in recent time, having lost his place in the first-team to the likes of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, but he still has the quality and experience to play at the highest level.
And, under Van Gaal at United, Old Trafford could be the perfect place for him to get his career back on track. In fact, Van Gaal's pursuit of Vermaelen really does make sense.
After all, the likes of Jones and Co. are in need of an experienced head to help them progress at the Theatre of Dreams, and Vermaelen will certainly help their development. But, even more importantly is the role the Gunners skipper could have on the pitch at United next term.
If, as expected, Van Gaal continues with the new 3-5-2 formation that he's implemented at the Theatre of Dreams, then Vermaelen could be just the man to marshal the back-line. His reading of the game, and understanding of the system could be vital to United's plans for the new season.
Hummels, much like Vermaelen, could do a similar job, but the Belgian would come cheaper and seemingly would prove much easier to sign. Van Gaal must make his move and not priorities Hummels or he could be left without either of them by the end of the month.