Manchester United Boss David Moyes Plans to Scout Athletic Star Ander Herrera

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2013

BILBAO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 16:  Ander Herrera of Athletic Club looks on during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and RC Celta de Vigo at San Mames Stadium on September 16, 2013 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

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.

As reported by Mark Ogden of The Daily Telegraph, the Red Devils boss will get a closer look at the 24-year-old during Los Leones’ Sept. 30 clash with Granada.

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.

Indeed, Florentino Perez’s suggestion that Manchester United also failed to land Gareth Bale, as reported by James Dickenson of the Express, only adds to the concern.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 4:  Ander Herrera of Athletic Club in action during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between AC Sparta Praha and Athletic Club held on October 4, 2012 at the Stadion Letna in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Micha
EuroFootball/Getty Images

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.

Fast forward a few weeks and the recently-departed Everton boss was forced to pay £27.5 million for Fellaini’s services, as reported by BBC Sport.

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.


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