In the wake of Daily Star’s report of Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal’s ended interest in Germany and Borussia Dortmund’s dependable defender, Mats Hummels, Arsenal has now become the leading club in the race to sign the player. Reports that Manchester United are now turning their attention to Ezequiel Garay, the Zenith St. Petersburg defender, has fuelled speculation of an Arsene Wenger swoop for the highly experienced Hummels in January. After Thomas Vermaelen left Arsenal for Barcelona in the summer, Arsenal Legend, Ian Wright expressed his admiration for quality defenders Mats Hummels and Raphael Varane and said: ‘‘We are going to be close. We do need to sign a couple more players. I’d go for Hummels; I’m dying for Varane, Real Madrid, that’s the calibre of players I’m looking at. Yes there’s (other) players around, I’m looking for someone to come in and hit the ground running, who knows what it takes to play under pressure, and those are the players I believe Arsenal should be going for.’’ This was shared by numerous other fans, who craved adequate replacement for Vermaelen, but this was not to be and now, the manager has reportedly made the impressive defender his number target in January.
Mats Hummels, 25, who came through the Bayern Munich youth academy before joining Borussia Dortmund, was a first team starter for Germany in the recently concluded 2014 FIFA World Cup, in Brazil, where he scored two goals. He moved to Dortmund, first on loan, then in a move worth €4m in February 2009 and since then, has won, two Bundesliga titles and finishing runner up in the 2012/2013 UEFA Champions League. He is regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe. Standing at 6 ft. 3 in. the player, is a cultured defender who also loves to carry the ball out of defence and spray beautiful passes. News broke recently that Arsenal would compete for the German defender’s signature with Manchester United whose offer of £25m was reportedly rejected by Borussia Dortmund in the summer. The German club were said to be expecting a fee of around £32m and Arsenal were thought to be interested. However, the Borussia Dortmund Captain is a major player in the Jurgen Klopp’s team and the German club may be reluctant to sell him this January, especially with UEFA Champions League football and a their very shaky start to this new season.
The numerical short fall of the Arsenal defence line may have been temporarily fixed with the official promotion of Isaac Hayden and Hector Bellerin to the senior team but the need for an experienced defender cannot be over-emphasized. However, Mats Hummels isn’t the kind of defender that would be bought to play as back-up to either Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny but may rather come in to displace one of them. On that premise, Arsene Wenger may not go for a defender with an intimidating profile like that of Hummel’s and with a £32m transfer fee valuation. Though the manager has admitted the need for defensive bolstering in January and a plethora of defenders have been linked to Arsenal as a result of that, it wouldn’t be surprising if Arsenal already has done the bolstering with the promotion of the 2 19-year-olds, with Bellerin being the cover at right back and Isaac Hayden a central defensive back-up.