Manchester United are ready to end their long-term pursuit of Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, preferring to instead turn their attention to more feasible January transfer targets.
Hummels has been on United's radar for some time and Louis van Gaal is a massive fan of the imposing World Cup winner, but the Red Devils aren't convinced a deal is possible when the window reopens and that's left the way clear for Arsenal to chase down another top German international.
The 25-year-old is one of European football's most wanted men, building a reputation as an uncompromising central defender with the awareness, presence and leadership qualities that in truth both Arsenal and United desperately need.
United have already had their fingers burned on more than one occasion trying to persuade Hummels to leave Dortmund though, which means Ron Vlaar looks a far more likely addition to Van Gaal's squad at this moment in time.
Arsenal emerge as front runners in £32m chase
News that Arsenal are serious about paying big bucks to make Hummels their next marquee signing emerged on Wednesday afternoon, but Metro believe that his position as Arsene Wenger's top January target has only been strengthened by United making it clear they are pursuing other lines of enquiry.
Wenger decided not to sign cover at centre-back last summer and defensive deficiencies in his squad are clear for now all to see despite that snub, an area he's now very keen to address as a matter of urgency.
Hummels won't come cheap though that's for sure, with Jurgen Klopp's talisman also revealing in an interview last month that he want's assurances over a long-term vision for success and progression before he'll even contemplate turning his back on Dortmund.
Can Wenger persuade Klopp to sell?
The desire is there from Arsenal to talk terms though, which is hardly surprising given that Dortmund have been forced to let top stars leave in the past and are realistic about having to consistently rebuild rather than relying on the loyalty of individual stars.
Both Arsenal and United are desperate to add quality at centre-back, but as the summer transfer window showed top players in that key position are very difficult to come by.
Hummels is arguably the best player in his position on the continent, so expect Arsenal's effort to get this deal done and dusted quickly to be met by strong opposition elsewhere despite United's reluctance to get involved in a protracted bidding war.
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