Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera has revealed he had no contact with Manchester United over a proposed move, despite the English club making an attempt to secure his signature ahead of Monday's transfer deadline.
According to Sky Sports, Herrera made the comments at a press conference held in Spain on Wednesday, in which he insisted he had not negotiated personal terms with the Red Devils—as had earlier been reported.
The only option, as the president said, was to pay my clause. I was never told United would pay the clause.
At no time have either I or my agent reached an agreement with United.
The 24-year-old also spoke of his delight at the Red Devils' interest in securing his services, but pledged his commitment to the Athletic cause for the season ahead.
Herrera was omitted from the Basque club's lineup to face Real Madrid on the weekend, prompting intense speculation that his demotion to the bench was due to an impending transfer to the English champions, per Darren Lewis and David McDonnell of the Mirror.
I've been silent because the important thing was (Sunday's) game at Real Madrid. Today I'm here, with no problem, with the truth.
I will continue to demonstrate my commitment to the club as I have since the first day I arrived. I speak for me. I do not speak of other cases. The club can confirm that my behaviour has been fantastic.
I'm very flattered to see that one of the biggest clubs in the world, such as United, bid for me (but) I did not talk at any time with United. I've been very quiet.
However, despite Herrera's comments, reports in England on Wednesday suggest that there may still be a repeat bid for his services in January, with the Mirror's David Maddock among those reporting Red Devils manager David Moyes' continued interest in the Spain Under-23 international.
As Maddock notes, difficulties concerning the tax arrangements of any transfer are believed to be the cause of the clubs' inability to strike terms ahead of the deadline. However, United did manage to secure the late arrival of Belgian international Marouane Fellaini on a £27.5 million deal from Everton, per BBC Sport.
Should Herrera join in January, it would bring an end to the Red Devils' long-running search for a creative central midfielder to replace the retired Paul Scholes.
Over the course of the summer, the club have been linked with a number of players, with the Spanish duo of Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara among those to have been the subject of interest in recent months, per Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail.
Having been frustrated this summer, Moyes will hope to act quickly in January to finally secure his chosen target—now seemingly Herrera. While not ideal, he will hope that the signing of Fellaini will keep United in contention both at home and in Europe until they are able to strengthen once more.