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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday