Manchester United Transfer News: Club Must Meet Ander Herrera Release Clause

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2013

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 4:  Ander Herrera of Athletic Club in action during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between AC Sparta Praha and Athletic Club held on October 4, 2012 at the Stadion Letna in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Michal Cizek/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Ander Herrera is exactly the kind of player Manchester United need in midfield.

Athletic Bilbao President Josu Urrutia revealed on the club's Twitter account that an offer had been made for the 24-year-old midfielder (h/t The Guardian):

We have had an offer for Ander Herrera. Our club is different, it is based on sentiment. Our objective isn't to make money. We received the offer last night and have communicated that we will not negotiate for our players. For a player to go, first the player must express his desire to leave the club and pay the release clause.

According to The Guardian report, the bid was for £25, and Herrera's release clause is £31 million.

With a club that needs to strengthen in the centre of midfield, this deal should be a no-brainer. Herrera is used to playing as a central midfielder, but you could realistically play him as a CDM or CAM if you wanted to. His game would be equipped to handle either position.

Herrera can do a variety of duties in midfield. He can be a playmaker who looks to provide that link in the attack.

Playing in a more direct style with Bilbao, he didn't have a high pass success rate (80.9). He did hit 4.3 long balls a game—the same amount as Cesc Fabregas—and 0.4 through balls a game—the same amount as Luka Modric, Lionel Messi and Thiago Alcantara.

When his club loses the ball, he's got no problem dropping back and going into defensive mode. According to WhoScored, Herrera executed an average of four tackles a game, tied for sixth in La Liga.

Squawka also posted some interesting stats on Twitter.

Herrera would give David Moyes a lot of flexibility in his tactical plan. The young Spaniard could play a little closer to the attack and let Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley be the midfield pair, or Shinji Kagawa could play in his preferred CAM role, and Herrera could play next to Carrick.

Most supporters will be turned off the transfer fee. It's a concern not without its merits, as £31 million would be a lot to pay for a player like Herrera. Unfortunately, that's how the transfer market works. Common sense is thrown out of the window when it comes to a player's value. Players are worth whatever the market will bare.

In this case, United would have to pay a bit over the odds for the Spanish midfielder. Sometimes you have to do that if you're a big club, and there's no doubt United have the resources to do so.

Real Madrid weren't afraid to spend £34 million on Asier Illarramendi. The general consensus of that deal is that while Madrid did pay over the odds, they got the long term successor to Xabi Alonso, so it's a smart purchase.

By going above and beyond to sign Herrera, Moyes and Ed Woodward would be sending the message that no transfer fee is going to stop them from signing the right player—at least in the right circumstances. They won't be afraid to throw in that extra couple of million dollars in order to secure a player's signature. That would appease the group of supporters who wonder if Woodward is more concerned with the bottom line, rather than getting deals done.

This doesn't really hurt United's negotiating power all that much, either, as everybody knows they're one of the richest clubs in the world. The club can't play like they've got little money to spend in the transfer market.

If the Red Devils are willing to make an offer of £25 million, what's the big deal in throwing another £6 million? You don't want to become like Arsenal, where you always hold firm on your valuation and let a couple of million pounds stop you from adding good players.