The English Premier League season came to a conclusion on Sunday, and following a disappointing campaign that saw the team fail to qualify for European football for the first time in 25 years, Manchester United are widely expected to be very active during the summer transfer window.
Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez is one of the players rumoured to be near the top of the Red Devils' wish list, and the Spanish midfielder confirmed clubs have made offers for his services during his pre-match presser ahead of Barcelona's all-important fixture against Atletico Madrid.
Via ESPN's Dermot Corrigan, Marcos Lopez quoted the midfielder as he indicated he was unsure about the future, despite his intentions of staying with the Catalan club:
Xavi just now: "My idea is to stay at Barca, I do not know what'll happen. There are offers, but I want to say." [via @marcosperiodico ]— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 14, 2014
As reported by The Daily Star's Paul Hetherington, United are one of the clubs reportedly interested in the veteran midfielder.
Despite the lack of European competition next season, the Red Devils could potentially put together the most interesting sales pitch of all the clubs rumoured to be interested in the player.
Manchester City could be priced out of the market following the sanctions expected to be placed on the club for infractions made against the Financial Fair Play regulations, as explained by Daniel Geey for The Mirror.
Arsenal on the other hand arguably have less of a need for a creative player in the centre of the park, with Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby and Mesut Ozil all vying for places in Arsene Wenger's starting XI.
There's also the presence of Louis van Gaal, a manager Xavi has worked with in the past. It was the Dutchman who launched his career with Barcelona, and should the Spanish international wish to continue his career elsewhere, it would make sense for him to do so with the manager who made him in the first place.
But Xavi started his playing days with Barcelona, and the midfielder has given little indication he wishes to continue (or end) his career at another club. While United would be wise to continue looking into the midfield maestro, it seems unlikely he could ever be tempted to leave Barcelona at any cost.
Van Gaal may not succeed in bringing Xavi to Manchester, but the Spaniard won't be the only former player on the Dutchman's transfer wish list. According to The Mirror's David Anderson, Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels is one of two defenders Van Gaal wants at the club to replace departing club legends Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
United's interest in Hummels isn't new, as reported by The Mirror's Simon Mullock last month. The German international was once part of Bayern Munich's youth setup, and his sale to rivals Borussia Dortmund and subsequent rise to fame is still viewed as one of the biggest mistakes Van Gaal made during his time in Bavaria:
Landing Hummels – a £30million-rated defensive lynchpin for Dortmund and Germany – is Van Gaal’s top priority. He has always regretted selling the 25-year-old when he was in charge of Bayern Munich.
Hummels, who speaks perfect English, fits Van Gaal’s identikit for a centre-back, in that he is both uncompromising and comfortable on the ball.
The Dutchman has told United that Hummels is the natural successor to Jaap Stam, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Dortmund will want full value for a player who still has three years left on his contract, but they have already paved the way for Hummel’s departure by lining up Basel’s Fabian Schar.
With the exception of Marco Reus, Hummels is arguably Borussia's most valuable asset left on the squad, so any transfer offer would have to be substantial.
Hummels himself is yet to comment on a potential transfer to Manchester, and one has to question how keen the player would be on joining a club that won't be playing Champions League football next season. Working under a manager who already sold him once could also be a strong factor in the player deciding against a move to United.
And while Hummels didn't enjoy his best season to date in 2014-15, barely cracking the Bundesliga's top 80 in tackles/game, per WhoScored.com, the Red Devils aren't the only club interested in his services. Barcelona are said to be on the look out, and AS even claim a deal that will see Hummels move to Catalonia has already been made, via Barcastuff:
Barcelona already reached a deal on the transfer of a centre back. Everything indicates that the player is Dortmund's Mats Hummels (25) [as]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) April 24, 2014
There are many reasons for a player to consider a move to a club as storied and revered as Manchester United, but for both Xavi and Hummels, the negatives seem to outweigh the benefits.
Fans of the club can expect a steady stream of star players to be linked to United, and there won't be a shortage of new arrivals in these next few months. Just don't expect Xavi or Hummels to be amongst them.