Sunday 18 February 2018 / 12:37 PM

Comm Box rumour mill: Who’s after di Maria?

It’s a very Arsenal- and United-centric rumour mill this week, as the two title contenders (I’ve decided to be generous to United this week) try to put the finishing touches on their squads ahead of the season’s opening weekend in just five days’ time …

United pursue Hummels after Vermaelen goes elsewhere

As you’ll know by now, despite United being in hot pursuit of former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen, the Belgian opted for a move to Barcelona instead. Now, with just one week to go before the start of the season, Louis van Gaal is desperately looking for a defender to play in his new-look formation – it seems unlikely that he’ll have much success with Smalling, Jones and Evans.

Borussia Dortmund centre back Mats Hummels appears to be van Gaal’s favourite, but the 25-year old is thought to have a £30 million price tag that might potentially scupper the move. An added complication is that with Vermaelen no longer at Arsenal, Wenger is thought to be interested in Hummels too; so expect the clubs to duke it out over the next couple of days.

Little pea is on the move

First-team opportunities have become increasing limited for Javier Hernandez in his last couple of seasons at Manchester United, and the word on the street is that the Mexican is now ready to move on – with Juventus thought to be his preferred destination.

After United pursued Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal for most of the summer, there is a feeling that a swap deal could be viable, with the Chilean shifting to Old Trafford and Hernandez – plus a whole heap of cash – moving in the other direction.

United on a winger hunt

Staying with the United theme, speculation has ramped up in the last few days regarding a possible Red Devils swoop for Angel di Maria.

The Real Madrid winger was one of the stars of the season last year, and with van Gaal admitting that United do not currently possess wingers of sufficient quality, di Maria could be the player to come in and make a difference on the United flank.

With Madrid having purchased James Rodriquez earlier in the summer, there are now less spots than ever available in the Madrid midfield, which could pave the way for a big-money move to Manchester for di Maria.

Agger to London?

Liverpool’s purchase of Dejan Lovren a couple of weeks ago confirmed something that many of us have suspected for some time – Daniel Agger is likely to leave Liverpool this summer. The question is: where will the Dane go?

For some time it was speculated that the Liverpool centre back could be on his way to Barcelona, but with the Catalan giants having signed Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal, that move now appears to be unlikely.

Nonetheless, the Vermaelen signing could well have paved the way for a move for Agger – just not to the club that he was expecting. Arsenal are now on the lookout for a footballing centre half, and if they’re looking for one with Premier League experience, there aren’t many better than Agger. One to watch, this one.

Gunners look to fix their weak link

I’ve commented a couple of times this summer that it appears as if Arsenal are constructing a very strong side. Last season, they lacked quality in a couple of key areas; but this summer, Wenger has bought well, and his side look capable of doing some real damage in the Premier League this season.

However, they still don’t have a reputable defensive midfielder to shield their defence, and speculation is rife that they’re after one, with Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira thought to be their number one target. Whether Madrid are prepared to let him go remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure, with Khedira in the side, every team in the league would fear the Gunners.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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