Borussia Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp has scoffed at reports that his defender Mats Hummels is close to a transfer to Manchester United. The German World Cup winner has been linked with a move to Old Trafford and Barcelona for much of the summer, and Spanish publication Sport claimed that a €20 million (£16m) deal was being finalized to take him to the Premier League outfit. Klopp, however, expects Hummels and another of his in-demand stars Marco Reus to stay put.
“I can assure everyone that there are no indicators that those two players want to leave,” he said at an event on Monday evening. “Marco and Mats will play for us the next season.”
“What are we talking about today? Mats to Manchester United? For how much? €20 million? With those kind of sums can you forget that straight away.”
Such a low transfer fee always sounded highly implausible for a player who has just played a key role in winning the World Cup and is rated as one of Europe’s finest defenders. It is also unlikely that Hummels will be on the move at all this close to the season. Having already lost Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund will strongly resist any other departures. In recent summers, Dortmund have had to accept the loss of one of their star names, but prevented further players from leaving.
If other reports are to be believed, new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is turning his attention toward a player who served him well at the World Cup, Daley Blind. The Ajax man gave a full account of his versatility in Brazil, playing as a left-back, left wing-back, center-back and defensive midfielder as the Netherlands finished third.
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Barcelona-based publication Mundo Deportivo has stated that United are chasing Blind, along with the Catalan giants, Arsenal and Liverpool. United are said to be willing to pay €22 million (£17m). It is easy to see how Blind’s versatility would appeal to Van Gaal, who is likely to seek players able to adjust to different formations. And the 24-year-old could act as a replacement for the recently departed Patrice Evra and cover for Luke Shaw as well as help fill the void in the squad left by the departures of central defenders Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. However, Blind’s relative lack of athleticism may mean he ultimately settles into a defensive-midfield role, where he was predominantly used for Ajax last season.
Continuing a theme, Manchester United are also thought to be going head-to-head with Barcelona over the signing of Colombian star Juan Cuadrado. In a report from Catalonia newspaper Sport about Barcelona’s interest in bringing the Fiorentina man to the Camp Nou, it is claimed that United have already put forward an offer worth €35 million (£28m). Cuadrado played in a variety of attacking positions, as well as right-back, for Fiorentina last season and thrilled on the right wing for his country at the World Cup. It is believed Barcelona intend to use him as an tacking right-back, although he could well be used further forward if he were to move to Old Trafford.
Increased interest in Cuadrado may be a response to Paris Saint-Germain reportedly closing in on Ángel di María. The Argentina international’s future looks increasingly likely to be away from the Bernabeu after Real Madrid completed a deal for James Rodríguez. But while French publication L’Equipe reported that PSG were in negotiations but could be hamstrung by Financial Fair Play regulations, Britain’s Daily Express states that the French champions will get around that hurdle by taking the 26-year-old on an initial year-long loan deal.