Manchester United are on the verge of completing the signing of Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao. The 24-year-old will signed a four-year deal worth a reported £90,000-a-week and becomes the first player to arrive at Old Trafford since Louis van Gaal was appointed as the Red Devils’ new manager last month.
Athletic posted a message on their website this morning claiming a bid from Manchester United had been rejected, but the transfer will now go through after the midfielder paid his buyout clause.
Manchester United (finally) get their man
Van Gaal’s predecessor, David Moyes, attempted to bring Herrera to Old Trafford at the end of last summer’s transfer window. But, despite the Scot’s best efforts, the situation descended into farce amid reports that fake lawyers had been negotiating the deal.
This, it seems, did not put Herrera off the idea of joining the Premier League giants - and United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has acted swiftly this time to ensure there would be no repeat of last year’s chaotic negotiations.
Herrera arrived at Manchester United’s training ground, Carrington, yesterday morning to finalise the €36 million deal after being flown over to England via private jet on Tuesday night. His routine medical passed without a hitch and he will now report for pre-season training, along with the rest of the club’s players not on World Cup duty, early next month.
Why have Manchester United signed Herrera?
It was clear that Manchester United needed strengthening in central midfield, but Van Gaal may have opted to sign Herrera over Cesc Fabregas and Toni Kroos - two high-profile midfielders strongly linked with the Red Devils over recent months - because of his tactical discipline and ability to follow instructions.
Herrera is an all-round midfielder, with the ability to break up play combined with his knack of knowing when to get forward and create. The Spain Under-23 international is expected to require little time to adapt to his new surroundings - and this was crucial for Van Gaal, who is assigned the task of enduring Manchester United are a competitive force once again next season following a disastrous campaign under the sacked Moyes.
Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick and co. at risk?
Van Gaal will not tolerate passengers. And the arrival of Herrera - who was also on the radar of Chelsea - plunges the futures of Manchester United midfielders into doubt. Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick both endured poor campaigns last term, along with the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Darren Fletcher.
it’s possible that one or two of them could be moved on over the forthcoming months as Van Gaal reshapes the United squad to his standards. The veteran Dutch coach may be in Brazil with his Netherlands side, but he is already calling the shots at Old Trafford.
Spanish revolution at Old Trafford
Herrera becomes the third Spaniard to arrive at Old Trafford over the last three years after David de Gea and Juan Mata. It’s believed both may have played a role in convincing Herrera to join the Red Devils - and the trio are all expected to have key role in Van Gaal’s new-look Manchester United team.
Manchester United fans: watch your new signing in action in this video.