Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has ruled out the prospect of defender Matt Hummels leaving the club amid continued interest from Manchester United.
The defender, 25, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for much of the summer as Louis van Gaal seeks to strengthen his back line following the departures of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra.
Speaking after his side 4-0 defeat to Liverpool, Klopp sought to end the speculation once and for all.
“He is going nowhere,” Klopp told reporters. “He is staying with us.”
It is not the first time Klopp has insisted the German would be staying at Dortmund. Last month he poured scorn on the idea of United signing Hummels, indicating he viewed the reported valuation as an insult.
“Mats to Manchester United?” he told German radio at the time. “For how much, €20 million? With those kind of sums you can forget about that straightaway.”
United fans will know that denials like Klopp’s rarely guarantee an end to transfer sagas. However, the coach has also just appointed Hummels as captain in place of Sebastian Kehl and appears absolutely determined to hold onto the World Cup winner.
If United are unable to prise Hummels away from Germany, serious concerns will be raised over the state of United’s back line. Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are the only established centre-halves at van Gaal’s disposal with youngsters Reece James, Michael Keane and Tyler Blackett promising, if inexperienced. This week United also lost out on Tomas Vermaelen as the defender signed for Barcelona.
For van Gaal’s 5-3-2 system to work extensive surgery on the squad is still required. With the season’s start less than a week away Ed Woodward will need to up his work rate or United’s ability to challenge for the title will be seriously impaired.