Forget Hummels, Valencia’s Otamendi should be Manchester United’s number one target this summer

Manchester United 3

Manchester United should drop their interest in Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels, before ramping up their pursuit of Valencia's Nicolas Otamendi.

According to the Daily Mail, Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels has performed a U-turn over a possible move to Manchester United because they took too long to firm up their interest. The German international initially seemed keen on a £35 million summer switch, but the latest reports from the Westfalenstadion suggest this is no longer the case.

With the club's number one target looking set to stay put, Louis van Gaal could be left empty-handed in his search for defensive reinforcements. Nevertheless, there is still hope if you are a Red Devils fan. Step forward, Nicolas Otamendi. 

The Argentine centre-back, who has a €50m release clause, has been in fine form for Valencia this season and is widely considered to have been one of the best defenders in European football. At 27 years of age, he would come at a high price, but he would undoubtedly add some much needed quality to the Old Trafford outfit's back-four. 

He caught the attention of La Liga's most causal spectators with his most recent performance for Valencia. The club left it late to beat UD Almería 3-2 and earn a UEFA Champions League play-off spot, but Otamendi emerged as a star performer. The Argentine put in a resolute display of defensive leadership, supporting suggestions that he has the credentials to star in England. 

Otamendi has now made 35 appearances in La Liga, scoring five goals – more than any other defender at the club and two more than the Red Devils' top scoring defender, Chris Smalling. Considering he has missed just three games all season, his resilience is a trait that would prove invaluable to Manchester United, should he join the club in the summer. 

Defensively he is mightily impressive - one of the Spanish top flight's outstanding performers, in fact. He has won 112 aerial duels this term (3.2 per appearance), while winning a club best 74 tackles (2.11 per appearance). Among all the defenders in La Liga, these figures see him ranked first and fifth, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the Argentine centre-half has amassed more combined defensive actions than any other player in the division. This includes 111 interceptions, 28 blocked shots and 264 clearances. These figures are evidence enough that he is an outstanding defensive unit, who is highly capable of instilling an added sense of security in Louis van Gaal's back-four.

Nicolas Otamendi will be one of the club's more attainable targets this summer, there is no doubt about that. United's most recent apparent knock-back from Dortmund should provide the perfect catalyst for the club to ramp up their pursuit of the Argentine centre-back, making him the priority target ahead of the summer window. The Valencia man could form quite the partnership alongside compatriot Marcos Rojo. 

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch