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United make Spanish midfielder first summer signing

Manchester United announced their first major summer signing on Thursday afternoon after former Athletic Bilbao midfielder settled his release clause leaving him free to join the Old Trafford club. United were rocked this morning when the Basque club announced that they had rejected United’s offer, which caused supporters to slate executive vice chairman Ed Woodward for showing the club up once again, in fact this was something of a technicality involving the Spanish club and the LFP, which was sorted out in the space of a few hours. It was reported yesterday that Herrera, his agent and some friends arrived in Stockport and were taken to the clubs AON Training Complex where the formalities were completed.

The signing of Herrera will be the third Spanish player in the current first team with the arrival of Juan Mata in January, added to current goalkeeper David De Gea. All three players were part of the Spanish U21 side in 2011 who were victorious in the U21 European Championships in Denmark with all three players being named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. Both Herrera and Mata scored twice in the competition with the former Bilbao midfielder scoring his second goal of the competition in the final, beating Switzerland 2-0. Herrera is a player that will do well at United in the coming season, the fact that the club have brought in a midfielder that seems to be the right kind of player United need is a good thing.

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Ever since Roy Keane and Owen Hargreaves left the club, the only midfield additions have been Michael Carrick, Anderson and Marouane Fellaini, with Tom Cleverley coming through the academy and despite not fulfilling his potential so far. Last season, Herrera was dropped after showing interest in a move to United last summer, which failed. He soon earned himself a place in the starting eleven and had a great season finishing fourth in La Liga earning a place in the UEFA Champions League. Statistically, Herrera was on par with some of Europe’s top midfielders, which shows why United never lost their interest in the player, despite comments and statements suggesting interest was gone. Here is a table showing Herrera’s stats and comparing them with Arturo Vidal, Koke and Kevin Strootman.

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Ander Herrera – La Liga Statistics 2013/14 (Credit: Squawka)

Speaking of Herrera, Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs said:

“Ander is a fantastic young player, with great energy and creativity. We believe him to be one of the brightest young prospects in Spain and I am certain he will be a big hit with the United fans. I’m delighted he has made the decision to come to Manchester and play his part in the club’s future. I’m looking forward to seeing him in action on our summer tour to America.”

Ander Herrera on his new club said:

“Signing for Manchester United is a dream come true. I have played at Old Trafford for Athletic Club in the UEFA Europa League and it was one of the highlights of my career so far. I have joined United to do all I can to help the team reach the club’s objectives. Having arrived on Tuesday, I’m excited to now be living in Manchester and I can’t wait for my first game in United’s famous red shirt. I will never forget my time with Athletic Club and I’d like to thank the fans and staff for all their support and, above all, wish all my fantastic former team-mates all the best for the future.”

Now United have acted early in the transfer market, it should keep the supporters happy that new additions are coming. With the FIFA World Cup still going on in Brazil and many of the clubs targets still participating in the tournament, there will be a waiting period before other players are secured. United still remain keen on Southampton left-back Luke Shaw and with England now back home, negotiations could be taking place to finalise the deal. This is going to be a key transfer window and with another young and talented player brought to the club, it will show that United aim to be back in the top spot in the league very soon.

By Paul Bienkowski

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