Manchester United manager David Moyes has claimed that the club were never going to pay the reported £30.5 million buyout clause in order to sign Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera.
United, who were actively searching for a playmaker this summer to give them an increased creative presence that has been so sorely lacking during their fixtures of late, were evidently interested in the Spanish U23 international and even submitted a bid that was rejected by the La Liga outfit.
Just how much that bid was worth, however, has been a source of great debate. During a protracted pursuit that culminated to a rather bizarre climax on transfer deadline day, it was widely speculated that United had agreed to pay the aforementioned clause until the deal was apparently scuppered after reports suggested that three unauthorised men, allegedly claiming to be acting on behalf of the Premier League champions, turned up at the La Liga administration offices to complete the transfer.
However Moyes, who is in his first season in charge at Old Trafford, has confirmed the value of the bid submitted by United and also insists that the club weren't ever prepared to meet Athletic's considerable demands.
"The stuff about Herrera, we made an offer for £23m and we were never going to go to the buy-out clause," Moyes told reporters ahead of Saturday's fixture against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
"All the rubbish that was talked about that - with people going in, they were never working on behalf of us. Never at any time did we increase our offer."
With Moyes only able to complete one signing towards the end of the transfer window in the form of combative Belgian international Marouane Fellaini, it is strongly anticipated that the Scot will again be in the market for an attacking midfielder when the market re-opens in January.
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