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Transfer Questions Answered Part 1: Replacing Captain Hummels

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Defensive replacements for departing center backs

Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

There's been quite a bit of transfer talk buzzing over Signal Iduna Park over the past couple weeks. But really, it's all revolved around three major topics: Mats Hummels and his (possible) replacements, Ousmane Dembele and other wingers, and the youth revolution led recently by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

So let's dissect these topics piece-by-piece as we begin our three-part series of Transfer Questions Answered.

In our inaugural segment, we start with Mats Hummels.

At a press conference on Friday, Hans-Joachim Watzke stated that Hummels longs to return to his hometown of Munich. Tell us something we didn't know, Hans. Hummels has also openly stated that he wants a second chance to prove himself with Bayern, the club at which he started his career.

So, with Hummels most likely on his way out, the question remains as to who will fill the void at center back.

Three players that have been among the conversation for replacing Hummels are Niklas Sule, Omer Toprak, and Aleksandar Dragovic. Now, a fourth name has emerged and his services could be the most suitable as a Hummels replacement: Shkodran Mustafi.

The German international has been playing with Spanish side Valencia and is one of the best defenders in the star-studded Liga BBVA. Mustafi has been targeted by Liverpool and Real Madrid as well, and is considering a move in the offseason.

Mustafi, 24, would be a very capable replacement for Hummels, given his physicality and ability to distribute the ball. The German, however, has a 50 million Euro release clause from Valencia and might be too expensive for Dortmund.

Omer Toprak could also be a solid choice to replace Hummels. Already accustomed to the Bundesliga, the Turkish international only has a 12 million Euro release clause from Bayer Leverkusen and Dortmund would be able to increase this offer with the money they make from Hummels.

As for Sule and Dragovic, those two could definitely add defensive depth, as current BVB center back Neven Subotic has been targeted by Liverpool, Hamburg, and Besiktas. Out for the season, Subotic had fallen out of favor under Tuchel and might seek more playing time with another club.

Hummels is still in Dortmund for now though, and the selling price for the BVB captain remains a costly one. To lower the strain on Munich's wallets, the Bavarian giants have offered Sebastian Rode along with a steep fee to procure the services of Hummels. Rode is a defensive midfielder who fits a similar role to Sven Bender, and could add some more depth to the midfield and the back-line.

As a reminder, these are currently just speculations and nothing official has been announced. However, with or without Hummels, it appears Dortmund will remain stalwart defensively, especially with players like Mustafi possibly being brought in this summer.

The second installment of transfer questions answered will address the possible void at winger that could open up this summer.