Manchester United look to be on the brink of sealing their first transfer of the summer window, with reports suggesting that the Red Devils are currently in advanced talks with Athletic Bilbao about a deal for central midfielder Ander Herrera.
According to reports coming out of Spain (h/t The Telegraph), a £29 million deal is close to completion and the midfielder is set to become the first signing of the Louis van Gaal era at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman’s predecessor David Moyes came close to signing the 24-year-old last summer, but a deal fell through on the final day of the transfer window.
While Van Gaal will no doubt be focused squarely on the Netherlands at the moment—who have qualified for the second round of the World Cup after topping their group—this deal indicates that behind the scenes at United early forays are being made into the market in an attempt to bolster the squad for next season.
Herrera is a player that would a plethora of attributes to a United midfield that currently has a dearth of genuine quality and athleticism. The Spaniard is excellent on the ball, but an industrious player too, capable of operating as an orthodox central midfielder, but equally comfortable in an advanced or withdrawn role.
Throughout his managerial career, Van Gaal’s stylistic mantras have seen him target players who can marry quality with physicality, so in that sense it is no surprise that he given the go-ahead for the club to reignite their interest in Herrera.
The Bilbao man has flourished in a style of play at the San Mames that is centred on intense and aggressive principles, and he’s a player that can help be a catalyst for Van Gaal’s full implementation of his own ideologies at Old Trafford.