The obvious and most likely choice to replace Rio Ferdinand is Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, who has been linked with an Old Trafford switch ever since he claimed back-to-back Bundesliga titles at Westfalen in 2011 and 2012, before going to the Euros with Germany and earning international acclaim for his talismanic performances.
Measuring in at 6 foot 4, the 25 year-old is a fearsome force in the air, best represented by his 5 aerial duels won per match in the German top flight this season.
But Hummels’ widespread appreciation can be sourced from his ability to play out of the back and link-up with the midfield, illustrated by his 1.2 dribbles and 62.2 passes per match, often leading to comparisons with German playmaking-sweeper legend Franz Beckenbauer. Manchester United have lacked that front-footed presence at the heart of defence ever since Ferdinand’s pace began to evaporate a few years ago.
Experienced internationally and in Europe too, Hummels boasts 28 caps for Germany and will undoubtedly feature heavily at the World Cup in Brazil, and also played a key role in Dortmund’s march to last season’s Champions League final.
In terms of age, experience, quality and style, the Black-Yellows defender ticks all the boxes for the Red Devils. He has a fan in Louis van Gaal too, who recently stated his regret in selling Hummels to Dortmund during their brief time together at Bayern Munich, where the commanding centre-back was regarded as the hottest prospect of the Bavarians’ academy.
His widely mooted £25million price-tag certainly strikes value for money, but United will be aware that Hummels has attracted interest from Barcelona too.