Athletic Bilbao pull plug on Man United deal for Herrera

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Manchester United fans have been left to sweat over the deal concerning Ander Herrera, after it was revealed late last night on the official Athletic Bilbao club website that they had rejected the supposed already-agreed €36million offer.

The official site for the club carries the information this morning that they have rejected the offer - which translates to around £28million - from the Red Devils, despite strong reports claiming yesterday that the deal had already been set in stone. What will baffle United fans the most is the fact that Herrera himself is said to be at their club’s Carrington training ground in order to finalise negotiations, and many thought that it was only a matter of hours before the confirmation would be made public.

Bilbao pull the plug?

Judging from their website it would appear that the only thing Bilbao have confirmed is that they’ve rebuffed United’s efforts to sign Herrera, not played along with them. The official statement reads: “The Athletic Club wishes to report that this week rejected an offer from Manchester United FC, estimated at 36 million euros, to transfer the federation and economic rights of the player Ander Herrera.”

It remains to be seen what sort of backlash they will face from both United and Herrera, who it would seem were convinced that a move was imminent. Spanish sources widely claimed yesterday that the 24-year-old would be a United player as of this Friday, and the man himself was already believed to have completed a medical.

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What now?

This revelation, if proven true, will rock Louis van Gaal’s plans moving forward, and also mean that United will likely have to pay over the odds if they still want to sign the Bilbao midfielder. Herrera’s buy-out clause increases next week considerably, and so his club’s rejection could be a ploy in order to keep United at bay until his price-tag means a more lucrative return for them.

If Herrera can’t then be prised away Van Gaal will likely have to turn to other options. Both Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger have been named as potential targets, but in truth it will be difficult for the Dutchman to properly orchestrate big moves whilst he remains on World Cup duty with Holland.

Not the first time

Of course this is far from the last time farcical circumstances have surrounded Herrera’s potential move to Old Trafford, with David Moyes having endured a torrid time of things trying to engineer a transfer last summer. Back then it was the involvement of phoney negotiators in Bilbao which were the main source of the problem, but as things move forward eyebrows are most definitely going to start to be raised over whether or not the Basque-club are actually at all open to the idea of letting their crown jewel depart.

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