Ander Herrera wanted by Athletic Bilbao this summer with the intention to make him the club’s highest earner

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is a reported target for former club Athletic Bilbao this summer. The Spanish club would reportedly ‘break the bank’ to make Herrera their highest paid player if he was to return to San Mamés this summer. Herrera, 28, will no doubt be affected by the arrival of Fred this summer, whose transfer still has not been announced by the Old Trafford club, despite confirming that there is an agreement in place for the player to leave Shakhtar Donetsk this summer.

The report, coming from AS in Spain and carried by The Sun in the United Kingdom, suggest the United Player of the Year from the 2016/17 season would be offered a lot of money to return to his former club, which he left in the summer of 2014, a year after his transfer was seemingly messed up by three solicitors reported to represent United during the failure of a transfer window under former manager David Moyes, which saw only Marouane Fellaini join the club with world-class stars touted.

Herrera played a lot of football during Jose Mourinho’s first season at the club, despite Paul Pogba making an £89 million return to the Theatre of Dreams. The following season, the arrival of Nemanja Matic saw Herrera play fewer matches but towards the end of the season, he was playing alongside both Pogba and Matic in a midfield three. This summer, Fred’s arrival could see Herrera resigned to the bench, playing the role of a bit-part player, which could influence a decision to move on from United.

Herrera saw a 12-month clause in his contract activated this summer, which has been confirmed by the Premier League’s released and retained list, although we already knew this clause was being activated. This will see that United retain the player for another season based on the terms inserted into the contract he signed in the summer of 2014 when he arrived at the Theatre of Dreams along with Luke Shaw, who has also had his contract extended in the same way.

Mourinho has seen Michael Carrick retire from the game, taking a place on his coaching team for the forthcoming season. Also, Marouane Fellaini, who is out of contract at the end of the month, is expected to leave the club, which will mean Mourinho will need to bring in another midfielder, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic still linked to the Old Trafford club. Herrera’s playing time could take another hit in the same summer is a high-profile name is brought in to replace Fellaini.

Mourinho may not want to see another midfielder leave the club this summer, but if he is to be replaced next summer anyway, as if United were interested in renewing Herrera’s contract, they would have done so this summer, or at leave have plans to do so, which does not seem to be the case. Receiving a transfer fee, however small or large for Herrera would be better than seeing him leave the club on a free in a year’s time. If that was to happen, and Herrera did return to Spain this summer it could see some youth being given an opportunity.

Scott McTominay was blooded into the squad last season after making his debut in Mourinho’s first season as manager. Also, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who spent the season on loan with Crystal Palace as a right-back, seemingly placed on the shelf in that position at the club with Diogo Dalot signing in the past week, but his ability that sees him play in different positions could strengthen with him able to play as a central defender or even in a midfield role.

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