According to reports, Manchester United have failed with an offer for Mats Hummels, who Borussia Dortmund continue to insist is not for sale.
It was widely reported in the summer that Louis van Gaal had identified the German international as the man to become the lynchpin of his back four at Old Trafford, an area which clearly needs strengthening. The Dutch coach has tried several difference combinations this season, and although the Reds have the fourth best defensive record, their defence is anything but settled.
United have cash to spend during the January window as they look to finish at least third in the Premier League, which would return them to the UEFA Champions League after last season’s seventh-place position, and a centre-half would appear to be high on their list of priorities. But according to The Express, who cite reports in Italy, an offer for Hummels has been rejected.
The 26-year-old, who helped his country win the World Cup last year, is said to be hugely frustrated with Dortmund’s showing in the Bundesliga this term, and understandably so. The 2011 and 2012 champions are remarkably second-bottom in the standings this season after 17 rounds of fixtures, although they are just two points off survival and are being tipped to survive the drop.
But it is understood that Jurgen Klopp has been assured that any bids for Hummels will be rejected this month unless, of course, a silly offer is received for his signature. The defender, who was named captain this season, is considered a key part of their bid to climb up the league table, and he will also play an integral role in the Champions League when they face Juventus in the last-16.
At least United have made one signing this month. As expected, Victor Valdes was officially confirmed as part of their squad on Thursday when he signed an 18-month contract, which included an option for a further year. The Spain international goalkeeper had been without a club since leaving Barcelona in the summer, and has also been recovering from a serious knee injury.
“It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United,” said the 32-year-old, who won six league titles and three Champions League’s at the Camp Nou. “From my short time here, I can already see this is a very special club. I worked with Louis van Gaal during my time at FC Barcelona and to have the opportunity to work with him here at Manchester United is a dream come true.”
Should United basically break the bank to land Hummels this month, or can he wait until the summer? Let us know what you think by joining the discussion below.