Sometimes it isn't the most important or most impressive player who can make the biggest impact during the transfer window. Tiago Ilori, fresh off a loan spell at Granada and hoping to impress on Liverpool's summer tour, has suddenly found himself smack dab in the centre of what could be a pretty huge transfer coup for Manchester United.
For those who have been hate watching with much schadenfreude Louis van Gaal's multiple failed attempts to get a German (any German) to sign for him, you will be familiar with the Manchester club's alleged £16m bid for the player earlier this summer that put all other EPL fans into a frenzy over the idea that the player could be had at all, let alone for so cheaply. Jürgen Klopp quickly rubbished the rumours with great panache, threatening to eat a broomstick if they turned out to be true.
In spite of Klopp's evocative dismissal of the story, rumours surfaced again on Thursday about an improved (!) £20m bid being made for Hummels' services. Losing their top centre back would be a huge blow for Borussia Dortmund, and so the deal hinges on Klopp finding a suitable replacement. Naturally, this replacement comes in the form of an on-loan Tiago Ilori.
While Brendan Rodgers is allegedly totally on board with the Portuguese defender experiencing a Bundesliga season in scenic Dortmund, it's incredibly hard to fathom how Jürgen Klopp would have any interest in such a loan spell if it's meant to replace one of the top performers at his club. Letting Hummels go for a mere £20m after a strong performance at the World Cup seems additionally ludicrous given the current transfer market and the usual post-World Cup price increase, and the gap in experience between the two players is on another level.
One might even be inclined to consider Liverpool's history of not doing direct business with Manchester United, and while in this case they wouldn't be dealing with the Red Devils, it's a close enough proxy that it's hard to imagine what was going through the heads of bored journos when they conjured this story up. That Brendan Rodgers would knowingly help facilitate the sale of one of Germany's top talents to his club's arch rival seems more than a little farfetched.
Dortmund come to Anfield on August 10 and if this totally amazing deal hasn't gone through by then, Hummels will have an opportunity to wax lyrical about der Gelbe Wand of the Westfalenstadion to Ilori in the tunnel at Anfield before kick-off. Or, as is more likely, they can shake hands, defender to defender, and argue about which of the Kop or the Yellow Wall is likely to be more raucous when they meet each other again in the Champions League.