A slow day at the rumour mill has left the gossip peddlers no choice but to wheel out the well-worn Mats Hummels to Manchester United yarn.
The Daily Express are mooting that if Borussia Dortmund refuse to relinquish their £47m rearguard marshal, the Red Devils will turn their attention to Valencia man Nicolas Otamendi, another player who has been repeatedly linked with an Old Trafford switch in recent months.
With Los Che valuing the Argentine at around £40m, it appears the Man Utd accountants are in for another busy transfer window of book balancing, but such heavy outlays are totally unnecessary, for Louis van Gaal’s men don’t need another centre-back.
Victory over Aston Villa next will make it seven in a row for the 13-time Premier League kingpins.
A price of 31/50 says they’ll bag the three points they seek, though the Villans’ well-documented goalscoring woes make backing the visitors to win to nil at 33/20 a worthwhile venture.
The strength of their defence makes such an outcome a real possibility; here’s why they don’t need to bolster this department further:
They boast a six-strong legion of centre-backs already.
Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are all seasoned internationals, while Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair are two players to have demonstrated potential this term.
Both youngsters have been thrust into the fray in the absence of senior practitioners and proved they’re capable understudies.
Drafting in more world-class reinforcements would push them further from the first-team picture, thus hindering their development.
Michael Carrick is proving himself a sterling stopper.
Originally pitched in as a makeshift centre-half, the 33-year-old has performed admirably in the position.
The Red Devils have won each of the six matches since he returned from ankle surgery, all of which he started at the heart of defence.
Man Utd have conceded just three goals across this period.
They’ve survived one of the harshest injury crises ever known with the resources available to them.
Every first-choice centre-back in their ranks has been sidelined at some stage of this campaign, yet the Red Devils still find themselves five points safely inside the Champions League qualification places.
Were those to have deputised of insufficient standard, they wouldn’t occupy the lofty league standing in which they’re currently located.