Manchester United and Chelsea appear set to miss out on Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera this summer.
The 24-year-old Athletic Bilbao playmaker was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League last summer, with former Red Devils boss David Moyes courting the player publicly.
Their pursuit would eventually become farcical when lawyers claiming to be working on behalf of the former champions arrived at San Mames to negotiate a deal.
It was no surprise that the move fell apart following that particular debacle, but just under 12 months on and Manchester United are being linked with the player once again.
Herrera’s agent, Arturo Canales, has insisted that his client is not thinking about leaving Bilbao and is excited for the season ahead. He also claimed that Chelsea wanted the player, but that no official movement had been forthcoming.
"There has been nothing new. There were rumours during the whole year, saying that Manchester United would try and sign him this summer, and even that Jose Mourinho wanted him for Chelsea, but we have not heard anything,” he told Spanish newspaper AS.
"The player is focused on Athletic and nothing else. Ander is on holidays and he is only thinking about the coming season with Athletic, because he is very excited about playing the Champions League with his team.”
Things have drastically changed at Old Trafford since the failed pursuit last summer, with Moyes now gone and Louis van Gaal his replacement.
The current Netherlands national team coach has been tasked with bringing success back to Manchester United, who missed out on European qualification completely last term.
That could have an impact on the type of player Manchester United can bring to the club in the transfer window, and it’s Champions League football which looks set to keep Herrera at his current club.
Chelsea do have football at Europe’s top table - but also a new creative midfielder in the shape of Cesc Fabregas, who was signed ahead of Spain’s nightmare World Cup campaign.
Mourinho already has a plethora of attacking talent at his disposal, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Fabregas all set to be vying for first team places at Stamford Bridge next term.
Herrera’s arrival would offer a further embarrassment of riches for ‘The Special One’, but the comments from Canales suggest that Chelsea will not succeed in their pursuit.
That said, the player does have a €36million minimum fee release clause in his contract, and if the Blues were to match that then they’d have an opportunity to offer Roman Abramovich’s riches to the player.