Mats Hummels
Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels is a reported transfer target for Manchester United and ArsenalGetty

Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel has urged Louis van Gaal to sign Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.

The German international has long been a transfer target for the 20-times English champions. In addition to this, their league rivals Arsenal have maintained their interest in the centre-back in recent times.

United have struggled with injuries this season. Also, the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have seen the Old Trafford club lack a leader in the back four. The treble winning goalkeeper believes the addition of Hummels will give his former club a defender and a leader.

"One name which is mentioned consistently in the last two year is Mats Hummels. He's won the World Cup with Germany and showed how good he is," Schmeichel told IBTimes UK.

"First and foremost United need defenders. They also need a leader. Signing Hummels could give them both. So of course if they are successful in securing his services, it would be a fantastic addition to the squad."

Van Gaal has the services of Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling as the first choice centre-backs in the squad. The summer signing and the England international are out on the sidelines as all of the four centre-backs have been injured at some point in the season.

The Dutchman has also fielded Michael Carrick in the centre of the three man defence in the last few matches. The injuries forced the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager promote Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett to the first team.

Any move for Hummels in January seems unlikely after Van Gaal played down reports suggesting that United will bring in a defender in January.

"I don't understand your question. Maybe you can open your ear. What is the meaning of your question? That you have to buy players? No. We have more than enough [defenders] in the club," Van Gaal explained.