Manchester United: The World-Class Defender Old Trafford Missed Out On

Old Trafford
Old Trafford in Manchester, England, October 23, 2012. Mats Hummels came close to joining Manchester United in the last few seasons. Richard Heathcote/Getty

Manchester United came "very close" to signing Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels during Louis van Gaal's reign at Old Trafford, the German defender has revealed.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, the 27-year-old center-back explained how Manchester United had pursued him over the past few seasons, with Van Gaal and, previously, David Moyes in charge.

Hummels, a Germany international, who joined Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich this summer from Borussia Dortmund on a five-year deal, revealed he could have ended up moving to Manchester in 2014.

"Yes," Hummels said when asked if he was ever close to moving to Old Trafford. "Yes, very close. There were talks, several times in the last few years. 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."

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Hummels would have found a familiar face in English football, having worked with Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund, where the duo won two Bundesliga titles and got to a Champions League final.

Now at Liverpool, Klopp is again thriving and his impact on his players has been evident, which Hummels remembers fondly.

"How intense? Every day, 100 percent!" he says. "The important thing is that when he thinks he made a mistake, he can really apologize to a player—whether that is alone or in front of the whole team. If he says something inappropriate, he realizes it afterwards. He doesn't take things personally."