Case for the defence

  • By: Tom McDermott
  • Last Updated: August 1 2014, 9:25 BST

Tom McDermott looks at the transfer options for Louis van Gaal as he looks to strengthen Manchester United's defence.

  • Thomas Vermaelen: Backed by Tom McDermott to join Manchester United
  • Mats Hummels: Still a Manchester United transfer target 

As we approach August and the start of the Premier League season the pressure is on Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward to deliver on his recent transfer promise.

Woodward spoke of his desire to prevent “the best players going to Spain” and mentioned that the club has the funds to break the current world record transfer fee.

Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw were purchased earlier in the window but there is a growing feeling amongst some United supporters that not enough has been done to help Louis van Gaal and the current squad.

On the pitch, the early pre-season signs are good for United. But, the race for a Champions League place promises to be even tougher than last season with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton all spending money.

Former United legend Paul Scholes thinks United should be on the lookout for a couple of defenders. So, who could van Gaal turn to?

Thomas Vermaelen

The Belgium international failed to hold down a starting spot at Arsenal last season due to poor form and injury problems. Vermaelen is believed to favour a move to Old Trafford and is set to hold talks with Arsene Wenger in order clarify his future.

Wenger signed Calum Chambers from Southampton earlier this week and could convert the youngster into a centre-half to make it more difficult for the former Ajax defender to gain playing time.

Barcelona are also monitoring the situation but United are short of versatile defensive players and Vermaelen would come with plenty of Premier League experience.

Will the Arsenal captain follow Robin van Persie to United?

Verdict: Deal

Daley Blind

Blind’s ability to play left-back and in a central midfield position would help United in two key areas they are currently short in.

Van Gaal knows Blind from his time as Netherlands manager and is impressed with his energy and tactical awareness.

Tom McDermott on Daley Blind "Even though the 'Dutch Lahm' only signed a new deal with Ajax last year, van Gaal knows that he will need to be quick if he is to secure one of Europe’s hottest prospects."
Tom McDermott on Daley Blind

The new United manager has previously stated that Blind’s long term position will be in the 'number six' spot and with United returning from America next week we might see him occupying that role in red in the not too distant future.

Verdict: Deal

Mats Hummels

The Germany defender was outstanding for his country during their path to World Cup glory.

Hummels is not the quickest but his organisation and ability to read the game would provide United’s relatively inexperienced defenders with more direction and leadership.

If we are to believe reports on Friday morning then a move for the Dortmund player is close to completion. However, as good as manager as Jurgen Klopp is, he isn’t a magician and it is unlikely that he will let Hummels leave for the reported fee of £20million.

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Hummels’ father Hermann has described rumour of a move to England as “nonsense” and with the likes of Marco Reus still being linked with a move away from Dortmund it’s hard to see Klopp allowing another star name to leave too.

Verdict: No deal


Miranda is one of several Atletico Madrid players being linked with a move away from the club this summer.

Chelsea could prove the biggest threat to United should they make an offer for the defender. As well as ongoing dialogue about Thibaut Courtois, Jose Mourinho has already signed Diego Costa and Filipe Luis from the Spanish champions and there is a healthy relationship in place.

Although he missed out on a place at the World Cup, Miranda has seven caps for Brazil and played every minute of Atletico’s Champions League campaign last season.

If, as expected, Vermaelan joins United from Arsenal it is thought that van Gaal would turn to a younger player to conclude his defensive business.

At 29, Miranda isn’t old, but if he arrives in England expect him to be seen in Chelsea blue rather than United red.

Verdict: No deal