Although Jurgen Klopp would love to keep hold of Mats Hummels, he could well imagine the player turning out for Manchester United next season.
The German international is regarded as one of the best central defenders around, and last summer helped his country win the World Cup for the first time since 1990. During his time at Borussia Dortmund he has played a key role in their successes of recent years, making 240 appearances in all competitions and helping them win the Bundesliga on two occasions.
It has been widely thought for some time that Hummels is destined for one of the bigger clubs in Europe, and he was heavily linked with United during the summer. Although Dortmund managed to keep him, and made him captain, the 26-year-old will be into the final two years of his contract at the end of the campaign when the club may decide to cash in on his signature.
Louis van Gaal remains keen to add a top-quality centre-half to his Old Trafford first team, as he looks to turn the Reds into title challengers once more. And with the Dutchman expected to be given another huge budget to spend in the transfer window, Klopp admits that as much as he would love to keep Hummels, he could ultimately be fighting a losing battle with the English giants.
“He’s good enough for Manchester United,” the Dortmund coach told DW Sport. “He has told me that he’s thinking things over. We’re always looking around the market ourselves. That we want to keep Mats Hummels here is beyond question. How that works out I don’t know. There’s always a list of players who would be interesting in the event that you need them.”
United were unable to offer Hummels Champions League football this season having finished seventh in the Premier League at the end of the 2013/14 campaign, but this is unlikely to be a problem next term. A 4-2 win over neighbours and champions Manchester City on Sunday further strengthened the Reds hold on third place, where they now have a four-point lead over the Blues.
One player who has been key in the recent resurgence has been Juan Mata, who scored both goals in the 2-1 win at Liverpool earlier this month and was again on target against City. But as impressive as United have been of late, the Spaniard is refusing to take anything for granted, telling Sky Sports: “It’s one more step towards the Champions League, it’s a big win and a boost to the confidence. But Arsenal are a great team and City and Liverpool will stay fighting until the end.”