Manchester United have been hand a major boost in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels, reports the Express.

Louis van Gaal was expecting to have to fight Barcelona for the German’s signature, but could go unrivalled after reports emerged that the Catalan club have made a move for Valencia’s Jeremy Mathieu.

“Valencia already know our offer and we want to maintain privacy in the negotiations. Of course we have other alternatives if this falls through. Hopefully by La Liga’s start we have that centre-back position covered. If we wanted a centre-back before now, we would have signed one.” said Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.

“We want someone who can put in top performances for many years and that’s what we’re working on.”

Hummels, now a World Cup winner, could leave for just £20million, and has a clear path to Old Trafford with Barcelona likely to be out of the running. The 25-year-old played a major part in Germany’s World Cup success, scoring in the Group Stage against Portugal, and netting the only goal against France in the Round of 16.

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United are looking for new centre-backs, after losing Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, who both left the club after their contracts expired this summer.

 

 

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