Are Man United still leading the race for this highly coveted Dortmund star?

The past footballing year has certainly been a strange one for Borussia Dortmund and Germany centre-back, Mats Hummels. The 26-year-old defender came into the new season after successfully lifting the World Cup in Brazil last summer with Joachim Löw’s formidable national outfit, yet his subsequent club campaign has seen BVB slip up in more than dramatic style.

The former Bundesliga title challengers have looked a complete shadow of their previous selves throughout the course of 2014/15 – and although Mats Hummels may have contributed to his side’s recent resurgence back up to mid-table of late – the German’s overall form this season simply hasn’t been operating at its full capability.

Manchester United however, in their reported continued admiration of the composed centre-back, are still monitoring the player’s situation with a potential view of bringing him to Old Trafford next season.

So, even though Mats Hummels has clearly had a campaign to forget since the glories of the World Cup last summer, just where will the German international ultimately end up come the start of next term?

Well if his current employers are to have any influence on their star’s upcoming big decision, Borussia Dortmund must act quickly in order to fend off the inevitable interest that will soon be coming Hummels’ way. As was the case for Marco Reus just a few months back, a lucrative new deal is reportedly in the works for the German centre-back as we speak, yet if Jurgen Klopp’s plucky outfit fail to qualify for the Champions League this season – such plans may ultimately never see the light of day.

Mats Hummels is simply far too coveted and highly valued in today’s climate to escape the widespread attention of Europe’s finest. Throughout the 2014 World Cup especially, the former Bayern Munich youngster displayed all the attributes of the perfect centre-back – tough in the tackle and strong in the air, yet also technically capable with the ball at his feet and seemingly never flustered even in the most high pressure situations.

The Signal Iduna Park favourite therefore proved a huge asset for the Germans when organising their back-line. He kept things cool, calm and collected at nearly all times throughout the World Cup – and as the big defender also popped up with a few crucial goals for his now widely praised national outfit – Hummels effectively displayed that he really is worthy of his world class status in the modern game.

Yes, there are those who will say that the 26-year-old is too slow to keep up with the very best attackers at the top level these days, but because defending is as much about pace as it is about strength, positioning and reading of the game, such critical statements of the German hardly hold a great deal of credence when properly analysed.

Manchester United then would seemingly go down as the perfect next destination for Mats Hummels should Louis van Gaal’s side successfully qualify for the Champions League next season. The Red Devils could certainly afford their man come the beginning of next year’s campaign, the German would be issued an almost guaranteed starting place in United’s somewhat vulnerable looking back-four at Old Trafford – and through plying his trade in the Premier League – Hummels could certainly go on to prove his skill-set to an even wider footballing audience.

Several other high profile teams have also expressed a reported interest in the World Cup winner in the past, but as Manchester United will likely go into the new campaign with a great deal more financial power behind them than most of their counterparts, Louis van Gaal remains best placed to land the defender should the opportunity arise throughout the summer.

As the likes of Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski have already departed BVB in sensational style before him, Mats Hummels will likely become the latest in a long line of names to eventually move on from Jurgen Klopp’s side in search of greater pastures. The choice to stay on with Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season would nonetheless be a very admirable course of action for the highly coveted centre-back to take.