Barcelona eye €30m Manchester United defender target

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Barcelona are keeping on tabs on Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Hummels has emerged as one of the finest centre-hlaves in Europe thanks to his sterling performances for Germany in Euro 2012, while was integral to Dormund's back-to-back Bundesliga title wins between 2010 and 2012.

Manchester United and Manchester City have been linked with a move for the 24-year-old, as have Arsenal and Barcelona.

Now Mundo Deportivo claim that Barcelona are interested in securing his services once more, at the end of season.

Reports suggest Barcelona have scouted the defender six times already this season after sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta identified the centre of defence as an area that needs strengthening.

Club captain Carles Puyol is 34-years-old and has been plagued by injury of late, while two of Barca's other defensive options are Javier Mascherano and Alex Song, both of whom are more comfortable in midfield.  

However they may struggle to stump up the cash to land Hummels; Sport report that he will cost around €30 million, a price tag Barca may be unable to meet if they go ahead with a move to land Brazilian star Neymar.

Manchester City and Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Hummels, and could challenge Barca for his signature in order to bolster their defensive units.

The Red Devils have been forced to operate without regular starters Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for large chunks of the past few seasons because of injury.

Manchester City are seemingly unable to find a centre-back who can match the quality of club captain Vincent Kompany, while Arsenal also appear short in the centre of defence.

Hummels has previously stated he would be open to a move away from Germany, saying that 'four or five' clubs would interest him when he makes the decision to move on from Dortmund.

"One day I will say that I am keen on a transfer," Hummels told German newspaper Bild.

"To play football in a new country would be flattering. I already had offers and one enquiry from these offers was really one of interest for me.

"But I told myself that the time is not right for such a move. There was a reason behind my recent contract extension. When you are a Borussia Dortmund player then you do not move to all clubs.

"In the Bundesliga it would just be about Bayern Munich, but this club has no shortage in my position. In Europe there are just about four to five clubs that would really interest me."

Dortmund look set to relinquish their grip on the Bundesliga after two successive years at the top, with rivals Bayern Munich 12 points clear at the top of the table.

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