Five reasons Hummels should be Van Gaal's number one defensive target

Mats Hummels close-up Germany

Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks. Should he be Van Gaal's summer priority?

According to Manchester Evening News, Louis Van Gaal is keen on signing Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels in order to improve his future Manchester United side’s defence.

The Dutchman is eager to reinforce the club’s back-four following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand this summer and Hummels remains a target, having be scouted regularly during the reigns of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes.

The Germany international has made 23 Bundesliga appearances this season, and his statistics prove he would be a fantastic addition for the Premier League side. Here’s five reasons why he should be Van Gaal’s number one defensive target this summer:

1. The 25-year-old has made an average of nine defensive actions per league game, with 52 interceptions, 135 clearances and six blocks. In terms of interceptions, he averaged considerably more than Van Gaal’s current crop of centre-backs – Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans – per appearance.

2. Hummels has also won an impressive 109 of 156 headers, registering a highly respectable success rate of 70%. He has both attempted and won a greater number of aerial duels than Evans, Jones and Smalling. In fact, he has been victorious in almost double the number of headers compared to his closest rival. His ability in the air will be looked upon favourably by Van Gaal.

3. The German international excels with the ball at his feet. The centre-back has completed an exceptional 28 of 34 attempted take-ons for a success rate of 82%, while his pass completion rate of 81% highlights a player who keep good control of the ball from the back. He played an average of 48 passes per match last season, a total that is, again, superior to Evans, Jones and Smalling.

4. With two goals to his name and 13 chances created, including two assists, Hummels has proven himself as a valuable asset in the attacking third. While he only has a conversion rate of 10.5% from 21 attempts, his ambition to get forward offers opposition defences an alternative threat to try and contain. He fashioned as many goals as Phil Jones last season – who finished the season as the club’s most creative central defender.

5. Two ankle injuries have seen Hummels side-lined for considerable periods this term, and consequently he has completed just 20 full league games. With the German in the side, Dortmund have won 18, drawn two, and lost just three matches. Without him, they have won four, drawn three, and lost four. This is a significant difference.

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