Mats Hummels is keen to join Manchester United this summer after deciding that he is ready to leave Borussia Dortmund.
This is according to the Daily Mail, who understand that Hummels is aware of the continuing interest from Old Trafford and has subsequently set his sights on joining the Red Devils at the end of the season.
In order to secure the Germany international’s services, however, Manchester United will need to pay £36 million - the fee Borussia Dortmund value their talismanic World Cup-winning captain to be worth.
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Dortmund want £36m in full
Dortmund are reluctant to accept a lower fee, but that will not deter United boss Louis van Gaal from urging the club to stump up the cash.
Despite the fact Manchester United are poised to hand new deals to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, Van Gaal reportedly remains keen to sign a first-class centre-back with the required experience and leadership qualities to become a key star at Old Trafford.
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Is Hummels' lack of pace an issue?
Hummels, who has won two Bundesliga titles and finished as a runner-up in the 2013 Champions League final, ticks all the boxes.
The one question over Hummels is his suspect pace. United were strongly linked with a move for Hummels last summer, but scouts reportedly expressed concerns that the 26-year-old would be too slow to cope with Van Gaal’s preferred high line.
Other than his lack of searing pace, Hummels has no other notable weaknesses, and certainly possesses the leadership qualities that Manchester United have been in desperate need of at the back this season.
Borussia Dortmund are not expected to qualify for next season’s Champions League campaign after a catastrophic first half of the 2014-15 campaign, which is one of the reasons why Hummels is now prepared to cut ties with his current employers.
United are not desperate for Hummels
But do Manchester United need the Arsenal target?
Several months ago the answer to that question from the majority of United fans would have been a resounding ‘yes’, but much has changed since then.
As Van Gaal pointed out in an interview with Sky Sports over the weekend, Manchester United’s current batch of defenders have earned very little credit for helping to turn around the club’s season over recent months.
Only Southampton and Chelsea have conceded fewer goals than the Red Devils in the Premier League this term.
Smalling and Jones have looked excellent in recent weeks, while Marcos Rojo hasn’t performed terribly in his debut season at Old Trafford.
Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, meanwhile, have both signed new Manchester United contracts and have the talent and potential to eventually establish themselves as first-team regulars.
Manchester United fans: do you need Mats Hummels? Who would the Germany international replace in Louis van Gaal’s first team? Have your say in the comments below!