The Mirror has reported that Arsenal have entered the race to sign highly coveted Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels. The World Cup winning center back has been a target of Manchester United, but Gunners manager Arsène Wenger has refused to allow the fight for Hummels to go uncontested.
Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp has insisted that his 25-year-old star, and potential new captain, is not for sale. But with the purchase of the promising Matthias Ginter, Klopp has a ready-made replacement should Die Schwarzgelben decide to cash in on one of their remaining prized assets.
United have long been linked with Hummels, and with the recent departure of defensive stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić, central defense is a top priority for new manager Louis Van Gaal this summer, particularly with his preference of playing with three center backs. Their lack of European football for this upcoming season, however, may prove to be a serious hindrance in luring Hummels to Old Trafford, making North London the more attractive destination.
Arsenal’s interest in Hummels comes after the news that former captain Thomas Vermaelen is looking to leave the club after losing his place in the side. Like Hummels, the Belgian has also been linked with a move to Manchester United. It is understood, though, that Wenger would prefer to sell Vermaelen abroad, with Barcelona one of many interested clubs. The defender has only one year left on his current contract and looks unlikely to sign a new deal. Therefore, Wenger will likely try to sell him for a profit this summer, meaning that a replacement will be necessary.
It is believed that the £30 million rated Hummels is seen as an ideal addition to Arsenal’s central defense that only consists of Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, and Per Mertesacker. Recent £16 million signing Calum Chambers appears capable of performing in that role as well, but the 19-year-old will, at best, serve as a fourth-choice center back. Whether or not Wenger would want to bench either Koscielny or Mertesacker – a partnership that flourished last season – in favor of Hummels remains to be seen.
For Dortmund, however, it appears that they will remain determined to keep Hummels at the club. Having lost both Mario Götze and, more recently, Robert Lewandowski to rivals Bayern Munich, they will rue losing another one of their star performers, even to a club outside of Germany. And with the new signings of Ciro Immobile and Adrián Ramos, Klopp’s men are gearing up to challenge Bayern for the Bundesliga crown once more. Hummels will be crucial to any success Dortmund can achieve this season, and without him, the title will surely remain in Bavaria for a third consecutive year.