Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels has finally spoken out over interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona in a €20m summer transfer, attempting to put persistent rumours of a move to bed by insisting committed to Jurgen Klopp's project and will never be motivated to change that stance that money.
Hummels is exactly the kind of proven world-class centre-back that United desperately need, so it's no surprise that Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal has reportedly identified the World Cup winner as his top January transfer target.
The 25-year-old was only made Dortmund skipper though and is adamant he has no plan to follow Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski's lead by turning his back on the Bundesliga giants, despite viewing speculation surrounding a Premier League switch as a big compliment.
Money won't take him to United
In an interview with Bundesliga Magazin International, brought to our attention by The Guardian, the Dortmund talisman revealed: “It’s nice to hear that big clubs like that are interested in you.
"I take that as a compliment. But it doesn’t influence me in any way, otherwise. We earn enough here in Dortmund.
“There will always be someone who can pay more than BVB. But Dortmund have made a lot of progress during my time here. In any case: I believe that it’s enough for me.
"If one day I start thinking about playing abroad, money won’t be the reason. But I don’t even think about that at the moment. We still have so much further to go here.”
Gerrard and Muller cited as role models
There are a very few players at the highest level who stay with a leading European club for the majority of their careers, but Hummels has designs on doing just that.
Paolo Maldini and Steven Gerrard are among the inspirations for his stance, insisting: “There are some [who stay at one club for their whole careers], and they are all really great players. Paolo Maldini of Milan, for example, or Steven Gerrard. I would have been so happy for him if he had won the championship with Liverpool. [
"Messi always plays for Barcelona. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, too, will perhaps play in Munich for ever.
“Everybody can win things with 25 superstars in the squad. At BVB, every single player has more responsibility but also more opportunity. It’s difficult to win trophies with Dortmund, but it’s always possible. And when it happens, the feeling is simply indescribable.
It looks like Van Gaal will have a very hard time persuading Hummels that seven-year love affair with Dortmund for a fresh challenge, however big his transfer budget and need for a defensive leader may be.
A bumper pay rise won't be a motivation either, it's about being part of a long-term vision for Hummels and given the current climate at Old Trafford it looks like they may well be forced to move on and pursue other transfer targets.