According to a report in the Daily Mirror Louis Van Gaal has shifted his attention to Serbian defender Neven Subotic, after his Borussia Dortmund team-mate Mats Hummels categorically ruled out a transfer away from the German club.
Subotic has played at the heart of the Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund defence since the pair joined the club from Mainz in 2008.
His form for Die Schwarzgelben over the past six seasons has, like his World Cup winning team-mate, seen him linked with a number of Europe's elite clubs.
The question that needs to be asked though is how does he compare to Hummels and is he a worthy enough alternative for United?
Van Gaal's side have struggled immensely in defence this season: injuries, lack of leadership and poor performances at the back have lead United to producing one of their worst starts to a Premier League season in recent memory.
Would Subotic add steal and order to United's back line and help ease their defensive frailties?
|Team||Pos||Blocked Shots P/G||Won Tackle P/G||Clearance P/G||Fouls Committed P/G||Interception Won P/G||Apps|
We've taken each of their statistics from the 2012/13 Bundesliga season as that is the most recent campaign in which they have played a similar number of games.
To immediately answer to question as to whether he is a good enough alternative, you would have to say yes. The pair don't have enough of a difference in their statistics to suggest that Subotic would not be as good a signing as Hummels.
Both are equal in their willingness to put their bodies on the line to block a shot with 0.4 blocked shots per game. They are also almost equal on the number of fouls committed too with Subotic committing 1 each game, and Hummels narrowly doing better with 0.8 per game.
Subotic's strongest area appears to be his ability to clear out attacks as his stats show he makes 5.7 clearances per game, which is 0.7 more than his Dortmund team-mate.
However he seems to be much weaker in the tackle compared to Hummels. The German wins 3.1 tackles per game which is more than double Subotic's 1.4. Hummels also appears to be a more astute interceptor making 2.6 successful interceptions compared to the Serbian's 2 per game.
Should United's defence not recover some ability and form by the time January comes around then a move for Subotic would surely give them a great boost. He has ability, experience and at the age of 25 he still has years to reach his peak as a defender.