Louis van Gaal is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to ensure that the defensive woes that befell Manchester United this summer terminate by January. After hitting brick walls in the deals for Mats Hummels, the Dutchman has sent scouts to monitor Benedikt Howedes. The defender, who was an integral member of Germany’s world cup winning side, and plies his trade with Schalke 04, possesses a level dynamism that is rarely found in players of this era. Although he is usually deployed as a centre-back at his club, Howedes was used as a left full-back at the world cup and he did well to convince fans and critics alike that he could be effective in both positions.
Louis van Gaal has had the defender under his radar since he was in charge of Bayern Munich in Germany and was reported to have shown interest although it was sure if the Dutch boss made a move. At 26-years-old, Howedes will fit perfectly into Manchester United’s team and even though his contract runs for another 3 years his £14m buy-out clause isn’t it enough to deter the Manchester giants.
Since he graduated from his present club’s academy, Manchester United have been monitoring his development and several news outlets confirmed that United had a team to scout the defender during the 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in August where he was excellent in the left full-back position. To confirm the fact that Louis van Gaal had designs on the defender, one might like to consider the statements from the players own mouth, where he admitted to several attempts that Bayern Munich under Louis van Gaal made to sign him up and further revealed that he might consider a move out of the German league in the nearest future. He was quoted to have said:
‘I said it before that it could be option to play for club abroad one day, to know about a new culture and environment.’
Of all the other defensive targets that have been linked to the Old Trafford outfit, only Howedes and Mats Hummels fit into the below-26-years age cap that Louis van Gaal has placed on new entrants into the club. It will be recalled that since the new manager took charge, he has made sure to avoid ageing players with the exception of Radamel Falcao who isn’t technically a Manchester United player as he is currently on loan from French club PSG; there is no other new player above the 26-year mark.
Hence, the manager might be more keen on Howedes as the Mats Hummels deal might be to dicey to seal and with the dire situation that the club is defensively at the moment, Louis van Gaal doesn’t really have the luxury of time to wait on Hummels, and if by January, Dortmund are still stalling, £14m for Howedes wouldn’t be such a bad deal.