There was some reservation from David Moyes as to whether Ander Herrera could make an immediate impact in the Manchester United team. Despite his obvious talents, he’s not Cesc Fabregas, nor can he match Marouane Fellaini’s experience in English football. And that, of course, ignores the complexity and difficulty of dealing with Athletic Bilbao over transfers.
Herrera is one of the perfect options for United and their need for creativity and steel in the midfield, one certainly who wasn’t too obvious at the start of the transfer window. Make no mistake, £30 million is a huge outlay for a Basque player whose name isn’t Martinez or Alonso, and at this time, it would be difficult to make a case that Herrera warrants that kind of money.
But that’s of no concern to Bilbao, who may have recouped €40 million from Javi Martinez’ sale to Bayern Munich last year, but could do little to nothing to replace him. The signing of Benat this summer was a fantastic piece of business, with the former Real Betis midfielder returning to his boyhood club where he will act as something of a cushion when Ander does eventually leave.
Herrera is, however, an individual who will grow into a player worthy of a £30 million price tag, and should United complete the deal in January, it would be with the player’s potential in mind.
Nevertheless, Herrera is capable of stepping into the United starting XI at present and offering the impression that he belongs. No one will forget Bilbao’s run to the Europa League final and the stunning and classy dismantling of United en route. That was two years ago, with Herrera now a 24-year-old who has a wealth of experience under his belt, both in European competition and with the Spanish U21s.
There are few Spanish midfield youngsters currently in La Liga who could stake a claim to being a bigger talent than Herrera, with Atletico Madrid’s Koke and Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi and Isco the obvious standout candidates.
What Man United’s investment will give them is a player who is well on the way to being a regular in the senior Spanish national team setup. Xavi and Xabi Alonso are in their thirties, while Fabregas and Andres Iniesta are often seen further up the pitch.
Herrera’s technical and creative qualities should be well known by now: he hasn’t fallen far from the tree of Spanish schooling. But it’s his tenacity, aggression and will to battle that will see him an invaluable figure in the Manchester United midfield.
He can link up with Michael Carrick, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, but also offer the defensive composure that’s needed to win the ball back. He may look a fragile or lightweight midfielder from La Liga, as is often the description from those too lazy to put in any effort, but like his current teammate Iker Muniain, he has plenty of fire about his game that will see him become a fantastic addition to both Manchester United and the Premier League.
Is Ander Herrera the real solution to Manchester United’s woes?
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