With all the Arturo Vidal rumours doing the rounds in recent days, Manchester United fans would be forgiven for forgetting they need at least one new centre-back before the new season kicks off.
Following the departure of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, Louis van Gaal’s squad is worryingly thin when it comes to quality, experienced central defenders.
Jonny Evans showed last season that he is becoming a very good defender indeed, but Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have not sufficiently kicked on after their moves from Fulham and Blackburn Rovers respectively.
As a result, United will need to sign one if not two centre-backs (preferably one of which is flexible enough to cover in the full-back positions), hence the regular links with both Thomas Vermaelen and Stefan de Vrij.
But the one defender most United fans want above all others is Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels. And there may be some encouragement in regard to that, even if it was hidden in a story about something else.
Spanish newspaper AS has published a story about Barcelona’s reported interest in Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen. But amid the claims is a line that should interest United fans, because the La Liga side are said to be keen on the Spurs man because their other target – Hummels – is more likely to head to Old Trafford.
Of course it is just more speculation in an ever-increasing pile of the stuff, but AS claims that while Barca want Hummels, “it seems that Manchester United – led by van Gaal – took the lead.”
If true, it is good news for a club who look like taking this transfer window by storm, with Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera already secure and plenty more tipped to follow.
But while Vidal may be hogging the headlines, it could be Hummels whose potential arrival really signifies that United are about to return to the top of the English game.