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Manchester United looking to sign Spanish midfielder


Barcelona’s midfielder Thiago Alcantara (R) vies with Athletic Bilbao’s midfielder Ander Herrera (L) during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

At 11 p.m. on Monday, time’s up for David Moyes. Sure, he can still guide Manchester United to a trophy, or to the top of the league, but without a significant signing, supporters will likely grow restless quickly.

Enter Ander Herrera. The 24 year old moved to Athletic Bilbao in 2011, after beginning his career with Real Zaragoza. He helped guide his side to the Europa League final in 2012, ultimately losing 3-0 to Athletic Madrid in an all-Spanish final. However, that tournament may have first sparked United’s interest, as it was Athletic that knocked out the Red Devils with two stunning performances in the Round of 16.

Over the past two seasons, Herrera has made 61 appearances for Athletic, scoring two goals in the process. Judging a man on his goals alone, however, isn’t always the smartest option. After all, Manchester United have Robin Van Persie for that sort of thing. What David Moyes is missing is quality in the midfield, and that’s what Herrera will bring. He’s a creator, yet he’s also able to bring a defensive mindset to the pitch.

Athletic Bilbao have confirmed the club have turned down a bid for the Spaniard. Owner Josu Urrutia has made it clear that his club are under no pressure to sell their best players, and that if United are really serious about Herrera, his €36 release clause must be met. While it was rumored that Herrera had a falling out with past manager Marcelo Bielsa, he’s an essential cog in Ernesto Valverde’s side, and Athletic see no reason to let him go.

With Italian media reporting that Roma have rejected a laughable €12m bid for Daniele De Rossi, and United failing to capture any of their targeted midfielders over the summer, Moyes will be finding it hard to sleep at night. If Manchester United really want to show themselves to be serious about Herrera, they’ll need to find at least another €5m -- and do it fast, as soon that window’s going to slam closed.