Bidding wars are a rarity in football these days but an exciting one could be on the horizon.
German tabloid Bild reported on Tuesday that Manchester United, Arsenal and Barcelona are all set to go head-to-head for the signing of Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels.
All three clubs could use a centre-back, and they don’t get much better than the World Cup winner. Let the battle commence.
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Hummels has long been linked with a move away from Dortmund but Bild’s report is based on two rather ambiguous claims.
The first is that Barcelona’s sporting director Ariedo Braida attended several BVB games to watch Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but was more excited at Hummels’ displays.
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Bild also claim the 27-year-old wants to play abroad and realises that, due to his age, any contract extension he signs with Dortmund will likely rule out a move to another top European side down the line.
Hummels, who was signed by Jurgen Klopp in 2009, has one year remaining on his contract.
Decision to make
It’s almost certainly in Dortmund’s interest to renew the defender’s contract but the former Bayern Munich man is fully aware that he has several options available.
"I'm still in the process of making a decision," Hummels recently told ‘Sportstudio’ on ZDF, per ESPN FC. "There are still a lot of things that I would like to do.
"One of those is to stay in Dortmund in order to continue with what we're building a little longer, but I also know that it's a decision over a long-term contract.
"It's perhaps my last big one -- I'm no longer in my early 20s after all. I'm not dragging out the decision artificially. I'm just thinking about it a lot.”
Which club is best for Hummels?
It would be difficult for Hummels to say no if Barcelona came calling. Despite their recent troubles, Luis Enrique’s side are arguably the best in Europe and could reward the defender with that elusive Champions League winners medal.
The Catalan outfit are perennial challengers in Europe’s elite tournament, while Dortmund were knocked out of the Europa League at the quarter-final stage.
He would arrive at Manchester United or Arsenal with the task of helping one of England’s broken teams back to the summit of the Premier League.
The Red Devils are in desperate for a class centre-back to pair with Chris Smalling, while Arsene Wenger’s squad is in need of a rejuvenation that includes a centre-back as its biggest need.
Considering the Premier League’s top two sides, Leicester and Tottenham, both possess consistent, tight-knitted defensive duos, the importance of having a solid partnership at the heart of defence has been proven this season.