Ander Herrera is set to be announced as a Manchester United player on Friday after passing a medical with the Premier League club, according to Spanish press.
According to AS, Athletic Bilbao are shocked Herrera is leaving having finished fourth in La Liga last season, which begs the question why they did not lengthen the release clause.
Herrera will be presented as a Manchester United player on Friday having passed a medical on Monday in Madrid.
Marca also believes United will announce the £28.7 million signing before his release clause increases to £33.5 million on July 1, reported via Metro. Herrera is set to complete his move one year after David Moyes failed to bring him to the club, a situation commented on by popular freelance writer Graham Ruthven:
It's actually a shame that Moyes isn't still at MUFC to see the Ander Herrera deal through. This is his signing, and it's a very good one.— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) June 25, 2014
The deal represents a first, and much anticipated, foray into the transfer market for the Red Devils this summer. It remains unclear whether Herrera was on Louis van Gaal's list of targets, but United have captured a classy midfield battler if the deal goes through.
Is Ander Herrera the right man for Manchester United?
Herrera is an energetic, fully committed player who is more than willing to contribute in both halves of the pitch. He flaunts a keen eye for incisive passes, neat dribbling skills and the doggedness to harass opponents away from possession. When given freedom to roam, he is a creative player who can make a real difference with the ball at his feet.
The 24-year-old's price tag is certainly being frowned upon by large areas of support. This perhaps stems from Herrera's name not being renowned across the globe and his lack of appearances for the Spanish international side. Graham Hunter of ESPN FC believes United will have most likely secured a star:
United are buying a talented, professional, intelligent, articulate and aggressive midfielder who yearns to win trophies and to show his leadership. I think they have done well here. Details remain and, as we've seen before, deals can fall down even at the last minute.
But if all goes to plan, I expect United to get their man. He's probably the right man, too.
Fans will hope Herrera can make more of an impact than Marouane Fellaini, who failed to settle in after moving from Everton last season. Van Gaal is the right manager to get the best out of a squad that has struggled across the past year, and players like Herrera will help him rebuild a sense of solidarity in a currently lightweight midfield.
Sure, Herrera's name may underwhelm right now, but he has the talent and quality to fulfill a number of vital roles for the new boss. Herrera will be judged intensely when stepping onto the Old Trafford pitch, but he can easily shrug off doubters if he sticks to his natural game.