Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels has revealed he was close to joining Manchester United in the past few years.
Various reports suggested that Hummels was subject to bids of interest from both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal during their stints at Old Trafford, only for the German to pledge his allegiance to Dortmund instead.
The 28-year-old dispelled any form of speculation surrounding a potential move to Old Trafford this summer after joining Bayern on a five-year deal.
Hummels, speaking to Sky Sports, revealed he was close to putting pen to paper with Man United prior to joining the Bundesliga champions.
“Yes, very close. There were talks, several times in the last few years,” he said.
“I had offers from England or one of the three big Spanish clubs. But nothing got close like from England. Van Gaal wanted me but he wasn’t the only one.
“It is difficult for me to play in England now. I’m 28 next month and I’ve signed here for five years.”
A large number of United fans – myself included – saw Hummels as Nemanja Vidic’s natural successor at Old Trafford. Such a feeling was part of my wider ‘it will all still be rosy under David Moyes’ attitude during the summer of 2013. I remain ashamed of my 15-year-old self.
And for some time, it felt as if United failed to address the gaping void left by Vidic and indeed Rio Ferdinand. Moyes failed to sign a centre-back; van Gaal was resorted to playing Tyler Blackett at the back in his first game as manager.
But Mourinho, in the form of Eric Bailly, has unearthed a genuine talent – somebody who could feasibly dominate the side’s back four for a number of years.