As the bedrock of Borussia Dortmund’s double winning team, which look well placed to make it to at least the semi-finals of the Champions League this season, it has come as little surprise to see Mats Hummels linked with a move away from the German side.
The cultured centre back, who is renowned for his ball-playing ability as much as he is his defensive capabilities, is often earmarked as a danger man thanks to his qualities at setting up attacks from deep appeared destined to move to Barcelona after Catalan publication Mundo Deportivo reported the deal as almost done.
However, Hummels’ agent, who is also his father, has appeared to quash speculation over an impending move to the Spanish club.
Speaking to Bild, he said; “I have had no contact with FC Barcelona. I’ve just heard the rumour.
“Every top footballer has ambitions to play sometime at some European clubs, which you can imagine. These include Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Manchester United.”
Sir Alex Ferguson’s rather public pursuit of a central defender has led his scouting team all over Europe and South America with Ezequiel Garay, Eliaquam Mangala, Frickson Erazo and Dede all being persistently linked with a move to the club in recent weeks.
Despite United appearing to be coming on strong in the defensive area following 600 odd minutes without conceding a goal in the league and Evans, Vidic and Ferdinand all enjoying good seasons, Ferdinand is yet to agree a new deal and despite speculation mounting that he will soon sign on the dotted line, he will eventually need replacing.
As he signed a new contract in the summer tying him to Dortmund until 2017, the 24-year-old would likely command a sizeable wedge and would certainly be more expensive than the other options that United appear to be exploring with a deal with Benfica over Garay appearing to be close.
However, Hummels is probably the most accomplished defender to be linked with United having been a central figure for the back-to-back Bundesliga winning Dortmund side, forming an excellent partnership with Neven Subotic as well as becoming a regular for the quite brilliant German national side.
But, considering the lure and spending power that both Real Madrid and Barcelona have at their disposal, United may have to settle for other targets which of course may not necessarily be a bad thing, with the weakness in central midfield in need of rectifying.