Report: Manchester United set to sign Mats Hummels in $28 million deal

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One of the areas Manchester United needs to strengthen most could be bolstered.

It’s about time.

According to reports from Spanish newspaper Sport, German World Cup winner Mats Hummels is on his way to Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund. The 25-year-old is supposedly heading to Old Trafford in a $28 million deal.

The towering German defender is a man in demand, as United are said to have beaten Barcelona in securing Hummels’ signature with Louis van Gaal aiming to strengthen his central defensive options. With Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera signing on this summer so far, more new players are needed with less than a month to go before the new season. Especially in defense.

[RELATED: Manchester United says it will spend on players in coming weeks]

Hummels scored twice at the World Cup, including the lone goal in Germany’s 1-0 quarterfinal win over France. He is great in the air, tremendously strong in the tackle and leads by example in central defense. Hummels is far from quick, we saw that in the World Cup final on occasions, but he has a decent turn of pace and his positional prowess more than makes up for that.

Is he what United need? Absolutely. Van Gaal should break the bank to make this one happen.

[RELATED: McIlroy booed for mentioning Manchester United after British Open win]

With both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leaving Old Trafford this summer the Red Devils have just three recognized center backs on the books: Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans. Smalling and Jones are both young and have had up and down starts to their United careers, while Evans is steady enough but far from spectacular. Hummels would be a marvelous signing as his experience in the UEFA Champions League with BVB and now winning the World Cup proves his pedigree on the biggest stages in world soccer.

[RELATED: Juventus sign Patrice Evra from Manchester United]

If van Gaal pulls this signing off, Hummels would be a key cog in United’s rise back to the top. If they are serious about strengthening this summer and challenging for a title, this deal needs to happen.

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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League Cup wrap: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET