Louis van Gaal was keen to lure the defender to Old Trafford two years ago, according to the Germany international
Mats Hummels says he was “very close” to joining Manchester United when Louis van Gaal was manager in 2014.
The Germany international was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford while he was still at Borussia Dortmund, but a move to the Premier League failed to materialise.
Any chance of Hummels swapping Germany for England was ended for the time being in the close-season when the defender opted to leave Dortmund for fierce Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
Hummels claims there was also interest from La Liga powerhouses Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, but the most concrete proposal came from United two years ago.
“Yes, [a deal was close],” Hummels told the Daily Mail. “Yes, yes, yes. It was close. Very close.
“There were talks, several times in the last few years. They were the offers. I had England or one of the three big Spanish clubs.
“The Spanish interest was loose, loose offers. I don’t like it that way. Nothing got close like the one from England.
“Van Gaal wanted me but he wasn’t the only one. It is getting difficult for me now to play in England. I’m 28 next month and I’ve signed here for five years.”
Part of Hummels’ reasoning for staying at Dortmund was out of loyalty to former coach Jurgen Klopp.
Under Klopp’s stewardship, Dortmund secured back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012 and also won the DFB-Pokal.
Hummels believes that no other coach could have achieved the same feat and is rooting for Klopp to be a success in England with Liverpool.
“We wouldn’t have had that success with another coach in Dortmund, no way. He is very emotional. All the time, on the training pitch. He can’t settle down,” he added.
“How intense? Every day? 100 per cent! The important thing is that when he thinks he made [a mistake], he can really apologise to a player – whether that is alone or in front of the whole team. If he says something inappropriate, he realises it afterwards.
“He doesn’t take things personally. We had two big opinions, two big egos. Sometimes you can get into a fight but you know everything the next day will be okay. We could always talk about it.
“He was never like ‘I will never forgive you for this!’ The relationship I had with him was really important.