Shane Long Ireland Omer Toprak Turkey
Omer Toprak has emerged as the latest defensive target for Manchester UnitedReuters

Manchester United have been linked with some big names in the central defensive department as Louis Van Gaal looks to strengthen that particular position, and the latest to catch the club's fancy is Bayer Leverkusen's Omer Toprak.

While Mats Hummels was the number one target for Manchester United in the summer transfer window, attention has turned to other options with the likes of Ezequiel Garay and Aymeric Laporte linked recently.

Toprak can now be added to that list, with Manchester United reportedly sending scouts to watch the Turkey international play in Bayer Leverkusen's 2-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League last week, according to the Daily Star.

The central defender, who is rated at around an-easily-affordable-for-Manchester-United £12 million, played the 90 minutes in that game, and Manchester United will have competition from Liverpool and Tottenham for Toprak after the fellow Premier League clubs also had scouts running their rule over the Leverkusen player.

Tottenham have leaked a few easy goals at the back, and so have Liverpool and both teams will want to move quickly in the January transfer window, if Toprak is indeed available for that reasonable £12 million fee.

Toprak is highly-rated in the Bundesliga, and at 25 is entering his prime. The German-born defender would be a good addition to the Manchester United ranks, as Van Gaal desperate needs a commanding central defender in his lineup.

The likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have flattered to deceive more often than not, while also being injury-prone, while Marcos Rojo is still raw in that central defensive position.

Bringing in the German-born Toprak, who is a regular for Leverkusen, will add a little bit more assurance to the backline, or at least that is what Louis Van Gaal will be hoping.

The manager has brought improvements in Manchester United ever since taking over at the start of the season, but injuries and mistakes at the back have caused too many problems for his side.

While Manchester United are definitely getting better with every passing game, especially going forward, Van Gaal will be worried about that vulnerable defence, and, no doubt, the Dutchman will look at all options available to buy the central defender which will make his backline a lot stronger when the transfer window opens in the New Year.