Manchester United made one more desperate final bid to sign Mats Hummels before the transfer window slammed shut, attempting to include the World Cup winner in a €20m swap deal during negotiations over Shinji Kagawa's return to the Bundesliga.
Dortmund came to an agreement with United over a deal for Kagawa on Sunday afternoon, but ESPN has revealed that the Red Devils initially wanted the German giants to hand over Hummels in exchange for Kagawa and £20m.
Hummels was appointed Dortmund captain less than a month ago and remains the linchpin of Jurgen Klopp's drive for success at the the Westfalenstadion, which makes United's last-ditch effort to land a top central defender look all the more frivolous.
£150m spent but still a string of missed targets
United set a new club-record for spending in a single transfer window this summer, but despite signing six stars including Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao they still failed to significantly improve in the centre of defence.
Marcos Rojo can play at centre-back but isn't the true leader they crave in that position, which is exactly why Red Devils chiefs tempted Dortmund with another effort to land Hummels even after spending an incredible £150m+ on Daley Blind, Luke Shaw and co.
Woodward was busy until the last minute
ESPN believe that United executive-vice president was still trying to chase down two more new arrivals besides Falcao before the transfer deadline arrived at 11pm, with a centre-back and holding midfielder still being targeted even at that stage.
William Carvalho and Nigel de Jong were both earmarked for the anchor role in midfield, but Sporting Lisbon and AC Milan both in turn decided that there wasn't enough time left to find a suitable replacement.
The Hummels bid is far more speculative though, with Dortmund's stance on the commanding defender never waivering at any stage despite long-term interest from United and Barcelona.
Dortmund of course have a proven track record of being forced to part with top stars in recent years, through little fault of their own it must be said, which is probably why United stubbornly refuse to give up their chase of a player under contract until 2017.
Hummels and Kevin Strootman are likely to be Van Gaal's top targets when the window reopens in January, but for now thankfully the focus can return to the football and given the amazing amount spent there can be no excuse for United not to perform over the next four months.
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