David Moyes is ready to step up his interest in Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera as the Manchester United boss searches for creative options to strengthen his midfield.
Having attempted to land Herrera’s signature during the recent transfer window, it appears the talented playmaker needs to prove himself to Old Trafford officials before a significant sum can be spent, as per Ogden's report:
United were unable to complete a deal for the 24-year-old on transfer deadline day last month because Moyes was reluctant to meet the £30.5 million fee that would have triggered an escape clause in the player’s contract, although it is understood the complex nature of Herrera’s contract at Bilbao was also a stumbling block.
There was concern, too, over whether Herrera is ready to be a first-team regular at Old Trafford. United plan to watch him against Granada next week. It is not clear if the player was watched in Bilbao’s game against Real Betis on Thursday evening.
Interest in Herrera will be greeted with a mixed reaction from Manchester United fans. Although dubbed the ‘new Paul Scholes’ by Darren Lewis and David McDonnell of the Mirror when Moyes’ interest first appeared, the classy Spaniard—who remains uncapped at senior international level—is a step down from the Scotsman’s original target.
Moyes’ decision to reveal his interest in Cesc Fabregas, as reported by John Edwards of the Daily Mail, was criticised by many and placed the incoming manager under increased pressure to land a world-class name during his first transfer window after taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson.
With many onlookers fearing Moyes’ name doesn’t draw players to Old Trafford like the legend before him, the 52-year-old did very little to dispel a theory that continues to grow.
Marouane Fellaini was the single major player to arrive at the Theatre of Dreams during the summer, a deal which also placed Moyes’ transfer policy in question. Despite the Belgian destroyer being available for £23.5 million up until the end of July, Moyes decided to test his luck by letting his former player’s buyout clause expire.
Moyes recently suggested he is looking to recruit two January transfer window signings, per Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail.
While Herrera remains a useful prospect, spending anywhere near his £31 million price-tag, as reported by Jamie Jackson of The Guardian, would represent questionable business for a player who has never played in the Champions League or represented his country.