Louis van Gaal is looking to bolster his Manchester United defence with the acquisition of Mats Hummels and Stefan de Vrij, according to reports.
United have been trying to sign the 25-year-old for each of the last three transfer windows, but Dortmund are determined to hold on to one of their leading lights.
However, reports in Germany say new Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal has sanctioned one final push for Hummels, with a take-it-or-leave-it £20million offer set to go in before the end of this week.
While the Metro report states United could tempt Hummels with a "giant contract offer," it must be noted the powerful centre-back isn't one to determine his future via greed. Hummels has always appeared loyal to Dortmund's cause and indicated he would stay during rumours linking him to a Barcelona switch back in April.
When I end my career, I don’t need to win eight championships, I’d rather have done something special. And that has certainly been the case here. That’s why I don’t waste any thoughts on this [leaving Dortmund] at the moment.
A reported fee of £20 million also appears to be questionable when you consider Hummels is only 25 years old. The Champions League runner-up possesses a contract until July 2017 and remains a regular starter in Joachim Low's national squad, indicating a much higher sum would be needed to tempt Dortmund into selling, per Transfermarkt.
More likely to sign for United is De Vrij, who has enjoyed a decent World Cup under incoming Red Devils boss Van Gaal. A price of £7 million plus add-ons would certainly ensure United receive value for money, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
Although less recognised than Hummels, De Vrij offers a cool head and measured approach at the age of 22. He is also trusted by Van Gaal and can help shift some of the load now Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have exited.
Luke Shaw's arrival certainly helps galvanise United's left-back position, but Van Gaal has plenty of work to do in order to rebuild United's struggling defence.
Right now his first-choice centre-backs are Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones; a trio that don't possess the quality or leadership skills to prop up United's bid to regain Champions League football.
De Vrij indicated he is likely to move but will wait until after the World Cup to decide his future. "The chances are that I will leave, I can probably confirm this," said De Vrij, reported by RTV Rijnmond (via Gary Jones of the Daily Star). "I am with the Dutch national team so I don't know the exact details."
The Dutch defender would certainly be a pragmatic signing for the new boss, noted by Kevin Palmer of the Sunday World:
It's fair to say United need at least two world-class centre-backs added to their squad. Although the arrival of Hummels would be ideal, the player's continued link to clubs across Europe ensures this latest rumour loses some of its impact.
He is the type of individual needed—a strong, aerially dominant, ball-playing centre-back—but De Vrij is likely to represent something of a compromise for fans.
An ideal scenario would see both arrive. Van Gaal needs to ensure his squad is balanced with experience and young players who continue to improve, particularly in defence.
Right now, United's back line lacks proven quality at the top level and will ship goals against the Premier League's best, as we saw last season.
Hummels may remain something of a pipe-dream, but at £7 million, De Vrij's signing makes total sense for a club that is looking to bounce back from last year's horrific form.
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