Jurgen Klopp has dismissed Manchester United's chances of tearing Mats Hummels away from his Borussia Dortmund side, saying reports of his imminent transfer are "garbage."
The charismatic manager—who is used to selling his big-name stars after Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski headed to Bayern Munich over the past two years—indicates his World Cup-winning centre-back is going nowhere. He also confirmed Marco Reus will stay at the Westfalenstadion, as reported by David McDonnell of the Mirror:
"Both will stay here this season," said Klopp. "There is no tendency they'd want to be elsewhere. Did they also say €20m? When papers mention such numbers you know it's garbage."
Spanish newspaper Sport originally reported the defender had opted to join United over Barcelona, but sources in Germany are struggling to comprehend such a move, per Simon Rice of the Independent. Alex Chaffer of FourFourTwo tweeted Bild's response, while Germany-based pundit Jan-Aage Fjortoft offered his thoughts:
BILD laugh off claims from (Spanish) Sport that Hummels will sign for Man Utd. "How's that for a wild rumour?" http://t.co/OcKtZBZ5Wh— Alex Chaffer (@AlexChaffer) July 21, 2014
Re: Hummels No reports in Germany saying Dortmund will sell. Personally I think there is NO chance Dortmund even will consider it— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) July 21, 2014
Popular Bundesliga writer Clark Whitney underlined the practicalities of when Dortmund usually sell:
MUFC fans: Hummels has a contract to 2017 w/o exit clause. Klopp's BVB never sold a star w/ >1yr left & no release clause on his contract— Clark Whitney (@Mr_Bundesliga) July 21, 2014
Even so, reports continue to stress United are on the brink of landing the 25-year-old. Despite posting Klopp's comments, McDonnell's article states the Red Devils are "inching closer" to Hummels' signature. Charles Perrin of the Express follows the Spanish reports by saying a £16 million fee has been agreed, a figure that seems extremely low.
Where will Mats Hummels be playing his football next season?
Klopp's resistance suggests Hummels wouldn't leave for cheap. The towering defender's stock rocketed along Germany's route to World Cup victory in Brazil, where he scored two vital goals and posted an excellent all-round tournament. Transfermarkt currently estimates his value at exceeding £30 million, a fee heightened by his contract running for another three years without a buyout clause.
United certainly need a leader of Hummels' quality. Both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have exited the club this summer, while Patrice Evra's move to Juventus was confirmed on Monday, per BBC Sport. Louis van Gaal heads into his first season without three of the old guard and searching for replacements who can make an impact both right away and in the future.
There's no doubt United have as good a chance as any to sign Hummels. The player's father worked as a coach under Van Gaal at Bayern, with Jamie Jackson of the Guardian saying Hummels would "welcome the chance" to work with the Dutchman after becoming an "admirer" of the new United boss.
Hummels isn't a player who has ever questioned his Dortmund future. He remains committed to BVB and certainly has a key role to play in the side's challenge for next season's Bundesliga title. United may be forced to look elsewhere, with Feyenoord's Stefan De Vrij the most likely target, reported by Simon Mullock of the Mirror.
The arrival of both would be ideal. Many believe Van Gaal's side will challenge for the Premier League title next season, but it's important supporters remain realistic. United's seventh-place struggle in 2013-14 highlights the deep-rooted problems within the squad. A lack of depth, character and quality plagued the team under David Moyes, meaning Van Gaal shouldn't be expected to work instant miracles.
That said, the signing of Hummels would certainly help. United need a solid base, especially with youngster Luke Shaw integrating into the side, and should be expected to make top-quality defensive signings before their first game of the season against Swansea.