With Nemanja Vidic leaving at the end of the season and Rio Ferdinand approaching the end of his contract with no sign of a new one, Manchester United will need at least one new experienced central defender before they kick off next season.
The man many feel would be ideal is Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels, who has long been linked with a switch to Old Trafford but who appears destined for a move to Barcelona when he does eventually leave the Bundesliga.
A report in the Express this weekend claimed Hummels would snub United if they missed out on Champions League football next season; which in all likelihood they will. But the report went on to suggest the German international has his heart set on a move to the Nou Camp, rendering any link to United somewhat pointless.
So why am I writing about him now?
Well my purpose is two-fold. Firstly he would be the ideal replacement for Vidic. And he would be the kind of signing that would announce to the world that United were only down and out for so long.
If he does indeed plan on heading to Spain then there will be little David Moyes can do about it. But if his mind is yet to be made up and he does leave Dortmund this summer, then the United boss must do all he can to persuade him to move to the Premier League.
But today he is not likely to be thinking about anything other than his goal-scoring return to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Hummels has suffered a terrible run of injuries and suspensions this season, with a ligament injury keeping him out for two months and his comeback postponed when he suffered a brief set-back.
Having featured only 11 times in the Bundesliga to date, Hummels came back with a bang on Saturday, scoring the first in a 3-0 victory over Nurnberg.
The first half had been scoreless, but the defender netted six minutes after the interval, and his teammates Robert Lewandowski and Henrikh Mkhitaryan later found the net to add gloss to the score-line.
Hummels will no doubt be hoping his injury setbacks are now behind him. But as for what is in front of him…only time will tell.
image: © peterfuchs