Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is keen on signing Mats Hummels in January - and is willing to make him one of the club's highest earners in order to ward off interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The German defender was the subject of Manchester United's affections over the summer, but he insisted he wanted to stay put and was subsequently named as Dotmund's new captain.
However that hasn't stopped Van Gaal looking to secure his services ahead of the January window according to the Express. Manchester United still look short of options and although they strolled to a 4-0 win over QPR yesterday - their first under Van Gaal - Harry Redknapp's team still had their fair share of chances to find the back of the net.
Van Gaal seemingly views Hummels as the long-term replacement to add some solidity at the back following the departure of both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic over the summer. Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo, both new arrivals, can play there but neither specialise in the position - indeed the former played in midfield and the latter at left-back against QPR.
The German international has attracted interest from Spain in recent months, most notably from Real Madrid and Barcelona - and the Express claim that Manchester United will hand him a lucrative contract to snub the two La Liga giants in order to head to Old Trafford. That will likely be needed given that Manchester United cannot offer Champions League football this term.
Van Gaal splashed over £150 million on big-name signings over the summer, and wants to continue the policy of buying the best players in a fashion similar to the Real Madrid 'Galacticos' by landing Hummels in January according to the Express.
Hummels, publicly at least, has been insistent that he won't be leaving Dortmund any time soon. Over the summer it was suggested that a £29 million bid was forthcoming from Manchester United, however the 25-year-old was not fazed by the speculation.
"There is currently no club in the world where I would be happier at," he said earlier this month. "If I wanted to leave the club one day I would want it to be 100 per cent open and fair for everyone.
"I wouldn't like to say: "Oh, by the way, thank you for the last year, it was nice but I'm off.' I would like the club to have time to adjust to it."
Along with Hummels, Manchester United and Van Gaal are also reportedly lining up a sensational £60 million move for Cristiano Ronaldo next year - although that is more likely to be in the summer - and could also target Kevin Strootman of Roma.
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