The former Borussia Dortmund man is rated among the best defenders in the game and was heavily linked with a move to the Red Devils when Louis van Gaal took charge in the summer of 2014. Hummels confirmed there was serious interest from Old Trafford, although United were not his only pursuers.
“Yes, very close,” he responded when asked of the Red Devils’ interest, per Dominic King of the Daily Mail. “There were talks, several times in the last few years. I had offers from England or one of the three big Spanish clubs. But nothing got close like from England. Van Gaal wanted me, but he wasn’t the only one.”
Hummels transferred from Dortmund to Bayern in the summer and as a result, the Germany international also admitted it’s unlikely he’ll move to the Premier League in the future.
“It is difficult for me to play in England now,” he said, per the same report. “I’m 28 next month, and I’ve signed here for five years.”
According to King, Van Gaal “relentlessly” pursued Hummels in an attempt to bolster his back four. Here is a look at why he’s rated so highly:
The former United boss professed a style of football based on possession play, and at times it conjured a soporific atmosphere at Old Trafford. But a player like Hummels, so adept at building from the back, would have made a big difference in many areas.
Even so, since moving clubs, the German hasn’t been at his best, despite playing alongside some illustrious players, per sportswriter Clark Whitney:
It would have been fascinating to see Hummels in English football. He has the sharp, cerebral instincts needed for what is a frantic division, and his aggressiveness at the back would align well with the league’s physical reputation.
United, who have struggled at centre-back in recent weeks following injuries to Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly, would have loved to have been able to call upon the 27-year-old.
Jose Fonte Rejects New Southampton Contract
According to Alex Crook of the Daily Mirror, Southampton skipper and reported Manchester United target Jose Fonte has rejected a new contract at the club.
It’s suggested in the report that the player is unhappy the club failed to inform him of a £9 million bid from Everton in the summer. The Toffees, along with the Red Devils, are said to still hold an interest in the player, and according to Ed Aarons of the Guardian, Fonte will be sold midseason should Saints receive a suitable offer.
The centre-back has been a crucial cog at St Mary’s for many years and has excelled this season in partnership with the imperious Virgil van Dijk.
As aforementioned, the Red Devils could do with some extra depth at the back, especially with Bailly set to play a part in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.
Ell Bretland of the MailOnline is unsure whether or not the Portugal international would be the right fit for Everton:
While the Toffees already have experience in abundance in Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka, the Red Devils don’t. It’s why even at 32 someone like Fonte, who is a leader, a proven winner and attuned to English football, could make a big difference at Old Trafford.
Manager Jose Mourinho typically builds physical sides, and Bailly, who impressed before his recent injury absence, has proved himself to be an imposing presence at the back. He could thrive in a partnership with Fonte, even if is just for the short term.