The Louis van Gaal ‘revolution’ is well underway at Manchester United, but the one position crying out for world class reinforcements is central defence.
Following the departures of former Old Trafford power-couple Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, United had identified World Cup-winning centre-back Mats Hummels as their chief candidate.
However, it’s since transpired that Borussia Dortmund’s rock looks unlikely to be prised away to join the 11/2 Premier League title-shots, making a search for other alternatives paramount.
Here is a potential shortlist that should be on Van Gaal’s radar:
Rafael Varane – Real Madrid
The French international has been on the fringes of Real Madrid’s first team the past three seasons and now Jose Mourinho – the man who signed him at the Bernabeu – is keen on taking him to Stamford Bridge.
However, while John Terry and Gary Cahill remain Chelsea’s first-choice, Varane may be put off by the thought of being understudy once more. At Old Trafford he’d be all-but guaranteed a start.
Stefan de Vrij – Feyenoord
In the immediate aftermath of Van Gaal’s adventure with Holland at the World Cup many media outlets saw this deal as imminent.
One of Feyernoord’s impressive contingent for the Oranje in Brazil, 22-year-old De Vrij has all the attributes to become a top European club centre-back.
Thomas Vermaelen – Arsenal
The Arsenal club captain has become a peripheral figure in the Gunners first team thanks to the fermented partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
The Belgian has had issues with long-term injuries in the past, but was available for the majority of the run-in for Arsenal last season before jetting off to Brazil.
At 28 years old, Vermaelen possesses a wealth of experience at the highest level and when fit is still a great reader of the game and a tenacious defender who’d certainly improve the current crop.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.