After giving Manchester United fans hope last summer, the Red Devils have finally signed Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera.
The attacking midfielder has now become new manager Louis van Gaal’s first major signing, but apart from United’s previous long-term interest in the starlet, what can Man United fans look forward to when he steps onto Old Trafford next season?
Here are the FIVE THINGS to get you excited about Manchester United signing Ander Herrera.
Ander Herrera may be anonymous to many that don’t regularly follow football, but those that do will realize the youngster is a key component in the Spanish youth level set-up.
He played a pivotal role in Spain’s U21 Euro 2011 Championship win, scoring the first goal in their 2-0 final victory over Switzerland.
With titles already under his belt at a young age, the drive to become champions is there… and now more than ever the Red Devils require the competitive edge that was missing for so much of last season.
Under David Moyes Manchester United seemed unable to break down stubborn teams. If Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie was marked out of the game, it very frequently ended in no goals. Herrera can change that.
As seen on this image provided by Squawka, compared to other United central midfielders, Herrera has made more key passes (per game) than any Red Devil, not to mention only falling three short (season total) of talisman Rooney in the chance creation department.
If United are to score goals with intricate passing, expect many of the moves to start (or even end) with Herrera.
It would seem odd that a midfielder known for his passing and attacking threat is also an amazing tackler. But that is what Herrera is.
Compared to any of United’s current midfield crop, the young Spaniard has almost twice as many tackles to their best in the middle of the park (Michael Carrick).
This confirms that Herrera is an all round midfielder, one the type that Manchester United have been waiting to become Paul Scholes’ replacement.
— Phil Wood (@_AlmightyMoses_) June 27, 2014
A sign of confidence in a player is his ability to challenge a defender while dribbling. Herrera may be an intricate tiki-taka passer, but the starlet can drift past his marker to create space for his team-mates.
We know Michael Carrick is one if not the best passer in the United squad. But the Englishman does not provide penetration, but with Herrera playing in front or next to the former Spurs man, it gives a whole new dimension to the Red Devils’ midfield.
In football the most important part of the game is goals. And Herrera can find the back of the net.
Manchester United already have two of the most feared strikers in the league, but one reason for their underwhelming campaign last season was their midfield’s inability to chip in with a few goals.
Not only does it ease the pressure of the strikers, but it causes defending opponents the necessity to close down players with shooting ability… thus again creating space.