Manchester United splash reported £29m on Ander Herrera
Manchester United, 11/2 to win the 2014/15 Premier League title, have made their first signing of the summer in Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera for a reported £29m on a four-year contract.
The 24-year-old also becomes the first player to join Old Trafford since Louis van Gaal was appointed as David Moyes’ successor. Herrera was a target for the Scot last summer, who was hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson when he retired.
United failed in their bids to lure the Basque from his homeland then, but have subsequently succeeded. “Signing for Manchester United is a dream come true,” said Herrera.
It is the first time in six years, Nick Powell and Marouane Fellaini apart, that the Red Devils have signed a central midfielder. Long-perceived as a problem area at United, Van Gaal will hope he has landed a player that can succeed Old Trafford icon Paul Scholes in the minds of fans.
Herrera has never been capped at senior level by Spain, but won the European Under-21 Championship back in 2011. Full international recognition could soon follow for him, however, as reigning world champions La Roja crashed out at the first hurdle in defence of their title.
Speculation surrounds the futures of Spain boss Vicente del Bosque and several senior squad members, like Xabi Alonso and Xavi Hernandez.
Van Gaal and Herrera are set to make their respective Premier League debuts, in the dugout and on the pitch, at Old Trafford against Swansea City on the weekend of August 16th and 17th. The latter will compete with Powell, club stalwart Darren Fletcher, Fellaini, Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick for a midfield spot.
During his time in the Basque Country club, Herrera came up against United in the Europa League knockout phase. Under the unorthodox tactical approach of Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, Bilbao upset the Red Devils and reached the final of that competition and the Copa del Rey in 2012.