Former Manchester United and Manchester City star Owen Hargreaves has revealed that he believes Mats Hummels is the wrong fit for Louis van Gaal’s setup, despite the fact that the German international is rumoured to be the Red Devils’ top target.
Van Gaal intentions
Van Gaal didn’t manage to complete a move for Hummels during the January transfer window, although he was said to have made at least one concrete attempt, but it’s widely thought that he will return to the charge in the summer, when the defender may well be looking to move away from Borussia Dortmund.
United’s summer budget - which will once again be one of, if not the, highest in the Premier League - coupled with the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s men are languishing at the bottom of the Bundesliga table, could be enough to ensure that Hummels consents to a departure at the end of the season. Hargreaves however, for what it’s worth, believes that there are more suitable candidates out there for Van Gaal to consider.
"He's a super, super ball-playing centre-back but I don't think he can defend, he's too slow," he told BT Sport, according to Goal.
"He's Franz Beckenbauer, the new version, a super passer but I think that if I'm Manchester United I want [Nemanja] Vidic, I want [Vincent] Kompany.
"He's Franz Beckenbauer, the new version, a super passer but I think that if I'm Manchester United I want Vidic, I want Kompany"
"I think he's a nice football player, he's easy on the eye, but United need somebody physical, a presence.
"He's the captain of Borussia Dortmund, they're last in the Bundesliga. Is that the measuring stick for Manchester United? I'm not so sure."
Regardless of whether he listens to Hargreaves or not, Van Gaal will know that something must be done with regards to improving his backline. Though United currently sit third in the Premier League table they’ve looked extremely suspect when on the back foot this term, and they have a lot to thank David De Gea for when it comes to his brilliance in between the sticks.
Lack of a leader
The trio of Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones, tasked with taking up the mantle set down by Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, both of whom left last summer, don’t appear to be of a sufficient standard to get by without a natural leader.
Chelsea have John Terry, Manchester City of course have Kompany and even Arsenal - who are far from perfect defensively themselves - have the experienced head of Per Mertesacker.
Yet the Red Devils have let another transfer window pass without improving their defensive quarter, meaning that if Smalling, Evans or Jones are injured Van Gaal will have to turn to the likes of Marcos Rojo - signed for his impressive displays at full-back at the 2014 World Cup - and academy graduates Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett.