Ander Herrera completed a transfer to Manchester United this summer, but Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that the club were first interested in signing him two years previously.
The Spanish midfielder - who became the Red Devils' first signing of the recent transfer when he moved to Old Trafford from Athletic Club for a fee of £28 million in late June - came up against his new employers in two Europa League clashes during the 2011/12 season.
Stylish Athletic - then managed by the gloriously entertaining figure of Marco Bielsa - triumphed over Manchester United in both of those aforementioned ties, with Herrera playing a key role and obviously impressing Ferguson with the caliber of his midfield displays.
"Ander Herrera played against us three years ago for Bilbao in the Europa League," the iconic manager told MUTV in an interview that was brought to our attention by the Daily Star.
"In fairness, they gave us a right battering at Old Trafford. He's a talented young player and we scouted him quite a lot at that time."
Ferguson's apparent interest in Herrera makes Louis van Gaal the third Manchester United manager to have tracked the 25-year-old. The club were also frequently linked with Herrera during David Moyes' disastrously short spell in charge of the 20-time champions.
While Herrera has generally impressed during the very early stages of his career at Manchester United, injury troubles - the latest a painful fractured rib sustained during the much-needed home win over West Ham that provoked initial fears he could be set for several weeks out - have unfortunately prevented him from establishing any real rhythm or consistency in the Premier League.
Such injury woes have certainly not just been confined to him, however, with Van Gaal having been without the services of several key players on a regular basis already this season.
Defence is an area that has been particularly hit, with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Rafael, Luke Shaw and even young Paddy McNair - the little-known youngster who had been drafted in from the U21 squad to partner Marcos Rojo and cover the alarming shortfall - having all spent time on the treatment table.
Van Gaal's side return to domestic action after the international break with a trip to West Brom next Monday and will be hoping to cement their place in the top four.
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