Manchester United are reportedly in a hurry to capture the signing of Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera, a deal that would conclude an almost year-long link to the Basque midfielder.
Spanish radio station Cadena Ser saying that Manchester United's signing of Ander Herrera will be made public in the coming hours. Hmmmm— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) June 23, 2014
Marca (in Spanish) added that Herrera is already in England ahead of a move that could be concluded as early as Tuesday, and the report claimed he will be paid €3 million per year to link up with the Premier League side, once again translated by 101 Great Goals.
While many fans may be doubting the quality of Herrera—he is expensive without being universally recognised, after all—freelance writer Graham Ruthven aimed to ease the fears of those who believe he isn't United quality:
Watched Ander Herrera a lot last season. Besides Modric/Vidal/Pogba, he's the best central midfielder MUFC can sign.— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) June 24, 2014
He's always on the ball. He's everywhere. He's relentless, actually. And he shows up (actually improves) for the big games.— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) June 24, 2014
The signing would represent a huge step in the right direction for Louis van Gaal. Last summer, David Moyes failed to immediately stamp his authority over the team by missing out on key transfer targets, including Herrera. He panic-bought Marouane Fellaini at £27.5 million, £4 million more than his buyout clause which expired in August, per Matt Law of The Mirror.
Herrera is in a similar situation, as reported by Nika Cuenca of AS (in Spanish) and translated by 101 Great Goals. His clause allegedly rises to €40 million on July 1, indicating business needs to be concluded quickly if United want to snap him up.
Would Ander Herrera be a good signing for Manchester United?
The 24-year-old midfielder is calm in possession, flaunts a dogged tackling style and has an excellent range of passing. He made 33 La Liga appearances last season, scoring five goals and providing five assists, per WhoScored.com. Herrera's strengths are perhaps best shown through other stats, as he managed an average of 3.1 tackles in each game, played 1.6 key passes per match and unleashed 2.1 shots.
He is an attack-minded individual who is comfortable in a deep central role or just behind the striker. Considering United's wealth of talent behind Robin van Persie, Herrera may be deployed in the middle with a view to breaking forward. His control on the ball and willingness to battle should be welcomed to a midfield that lacked any character or creative spark last season.
Herrera's signing would kick a busy summer into life at the Theatre of Dreams. Van Gaal is expected to make wholesale changes—something that has been needed since before Sir Alex Ferguson retired—suggesting Herrera could be the first of many. Not all acquisitions will be "star" signings with huge names across the globe, but they will be cherry-picked to make an impact.
This story is developing quickly and, if multiple Spanish media outlets are proven correct, could find a swift conclusion.