Manchester United Confirm Ander Herrera Exit Amid PSG Transfer Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Ander Herrera of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea FC at Old Trafford on April 28, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera will be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the campaign.

The Red Devils announced the news on Saturday, posting a video of Herrera saying farewell to the club's supporters:

"There is red in my heart, he said. "I knew it from the first time I played here and in the moment that I first started to wear it. A club with thousands of fans that respect and remember all the players who give everything. Every time I represented this club in wins and losses, even when I couldn't help from the grass, I understood what this club means."

Speculation has been rife about the Spain international's departure for some time, with Jamie Jackson of the Guardian reporting in April that Herrera was close to agreeing to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Herrera signed for United from Athletic Bilbao in 2014, and after a slow start to life at the club, he established himself as a key player at Old Trafford.

He has made 189 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 20 goals; the midfielder has also won the FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Herrera developed a reputation for tenacity, energy and incision in possession during his time in English football.

The announcement comes on the eve of United's final game of the season, against Cardiff City at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News picked out some of the high points of the player's time at Old Trafford and detailed some of the reasons why he opted against staying at the club: 

BBC Sport's Simon Stone said that the manner in which negotiations went means the decision to leave is the right one:

Still, his departure will disappoint some United fans. While Herrera was not a spectacular player, he was someone who would often play in important games for the team and provide a foil for the rest of the attacking players.

The Red Devils fans will also be a little miffed by some of the players the club has decided to give new contracts, as football writer Scott Patterson noted when the decision was confirmed: 

Overall this season, United were much more productive when Herrera was on the pitch: 

In what was always going to be a big summer for Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, replacing Herrera will be another challenge.

Additionally, there are question marks over some of the club's other key midfielders. Paul Pogba continues to be linked with Real Madrid, Nemanja Matic is past his best and last summer's marquee signing, Fred, found the Premier League hard going in 2018-19.

With Adrien Rabiot set to leave PSG on a free this summer, the Ligue 1 champions' interest in Herrera makes sense. For a team that have showcased a consistently soft centre in the UEFA Champions League, having someone with the Spaniard's edge in their squad can only be a positive move.

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