Mats Hummels has fuelled speculation of a transfer away from Borussia Dortmund after he labelled his current team as pathetic.
The 26-year-old could not stop his Bundesliga side from succumbing to their 11th defeat of the season; a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen on Saturday. The result has left them joint bottom of the division and put Jurgen Klopp under further pressure.
Having won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 and finished second in the subsequent two seasons, their decline has been somewhat alarming, especially as they qualified from their Champions League group with relative ease.
""It’s pretty astonishing that we are so pathetic”
Their poor form can be put down to the fact that they have lost key players Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski in recent seasons. Now it seems Hummels could follow them out the exit door and head to the Premier League.
Hummels has poured fuel on the fire that he could leave in the near future after calling his team pathetic in his latest interview.
He told reporters: "We’ve managed pretty well at home in recent weeks, but not at all away.
"It’s pretty astonishing that we are so pathetic.”
Manchester United have been strongly linked with a move for the Dortmund captain with £47 million thought to be enough to convince Klopp to sell. Arsenal are also believed to be in the chase but it is not known whether Arsene Wenger can meet such a big asking price.
Louis van Gaal has been told by Manchester United officials that the world is his oyster when it comes to transfers. The Old Trafford club are ready to use their superior financial strength to put together a team of world-class quality of which Hummels could feature.
Should Dortmund fall out of the Champions League, which looks more than likely after their disastrous first half of the season, they may have to accept less for the centre-back. Without the prize money that comes with competing in Europe's top tier competition, they could be forced to part with Hummels quicker in order to balance the books.
It could also mean the end for Marco Reus, who is yet to sign a new contract after Borussia Dortmund, and will be able to leave for as little as £20 million in the summer.