Manchester United have increased their bid for Mats Hummels by £8million and are hoping that will help them to make significant steps towards completing a deal for him this week, as Louis van Gaal searches for defensive replacements.
According to the Daily Mail, the Old Trafford club are extremely keen on landing the Borussia Dortmund star as they look to rebuild under Van Gaal following a disastrous season under David Moyes that saw them finish outside the Premier League's Champions League places for the first time in 19 years.
Hummels was outstanding for Germany on their way to World Cup glory in Brazil this summer and has emerged with a reputation of one of the world’s leading central defenders. The report claims that Manchester United moneymen upped their original bid of £17million to £25million after the Bundesliga side dismissed the first.
Dortmund have insisted up to now that they are unwilling to listen to offers for the 25-year-old, or their other prized asset, Marco Reus, but Jurgen Klopp will struggle to hang on to them for much longer, such is the financial pressure on the club from more affluent rivals Bayern Munich and Europe’s big spenders.
Manchester United are in need of some experienced cover in the defensive positions after the loss of three of their most senior personnel this summer. Rio Ferdinand was released and has now signed up for QPR in the Premier League, club captain Nemanja Vidic was also allowed to leave on a free to join Serie A side Inter Milan and Patrice Evra was sold to Italian champions Juventus.
Hummels may only be 25 but he already has extensive experience at the top of the game; he is a double Bundesliga winner with Dortmund, who also made the Champions League final in 2013, and is now a world champion – all after being let go by Bayern Munich as a 20-year-old.
He may not be the quickest defender around, but Van Gaal will be well aware of the positional sense of Hummels and his incredible powers of anticipation, not to mention being very competent with the ball at his feet.
Speed is secondary
Manchester United’s new boss will not be too worried about pace at the centre of defence, as the formation he deployed with Netherlands at the World Cup meant this was not a problem.
Ron Vlaar has not exactly been tearing up any trees during his time at Aston Villa, but his reputation was enhanced immeasurably at the centre of a back three for Holland, where he had the luxury of two more speedy partners to cover for him.
More business due
Van Gaal has already seen Old Trafford officials splash nearly £60million on Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, but all at the club have admitted more additions are required before the Premier League gets under way in just over two weeks.
If one of those signings was Hummels, then Van Gaal’s aims of getting back into the Champions League could well be raised to something a little more ambitious.