Hummels to head to Old Trafford if Dortmund loan Ilori
Manchester United, 5/1 to win the Premier League, could be moving closer to a deal for Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, according to reports.
This is welcome news for United fans, who could see one of the finest centre backs in the world plying his trade at Old Trafford. There is one catch, however, as the blockbuster move apparently rests in the hands of the Red Devils’ bitterest rivals, Liverpool.
Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp recently shrugged off reports of Hummels leaving the German giants: “for how much? €20m (£15.8m)? With those kind of sums can you forget that straight away.”
However, it is believed an offer in the region of £25m could see the superstar centre half, who netted twice for World Cup winners Germany in Brazil, arrive at Old Trafford.
Current Red Devil, and former Dortmund player, Shinji Kagawa has long been mooted to move in the opposite direction as part of any deal, but it appears Klopp’s first concern will be securing a new defender.
Inspirational coach Klopp has already snapped up highly-rated former Freiburg star Matthias Ginter to bolster his already impressive backline options of Neven Subotic and Kyriakos Papadopoulos, but if Hummels departs it is believed he will want further reinforcements.
Enter Liverpool and their promising youngster Tiago Ilori. The Reds snapped up the Hampstead-born Portuguese centre back from Sporting Lisbon in 2013, after he had made just 12 first team appearances.
Inexperienced Ilori has yet to feature competitively for Liverpool, who paid a reported fee of £8m for the starlet, and he spent last season on loan to Spanish side Granada, making just nine outings.
The 21-year-old is unlikely to feature heavily for Brendan Rodgers’ side this season and, after the Reds scooped up former Southampton centre half Dejan Lovren, is now supposedly coveted by Klopp as a potential replacement for Hummels.
A loan stint in Germany could be beneficial for both sides, providing the opportunity for Ilori to test himself in a physical and fast-paced league, with a club likely to be challenging for the Bundesliga title and competing in Europe.
Liverpool are believed to be willing to put the development of Ilori over any supposed desire to scupper their rivals’ move for Hummels, leaving the door open for Louis van Gaal to secure his man.
After introducing a switch to three at the back, Van Gaal has already spoken of his desire to bring in additional recruits in defence, saying: “We are doing well but we are looking for defenders. Defenders have gone and we have to replace them.”
Van Gaal’s current options include the often injury-prone trio of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, with academy players such as Michael Keane and Tyler Blackett the only back-ups.
Following the departures of veteran centre backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, the Dutch coach needs a sprinkling of experience and authority in his rearguard, and is known to favour ball-playing defenders who can launch attacks from their own half.
Hummels would potentially slot perfectly into Van Gaal’s system, and appears to be one of few top class options in the centre back position who may be available.
United, who conceded 43 goals last season as they stuttered to a shocking seventh place finish, will need to make further defensive additions than just teenage full back Luke Shaw. If they wish to secure a top four finish, which they are odds-on at 1/2 to do, acquiring Hummels would certainly be a statement of intent.