Who Is Ander Herrera? Taking a Look at Man Utd's Potential New Signing

Joseph Dempsey@Joseph@whatculture!CorrespondentJune 24, 2014

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

Manchester United are on the verge of signing Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, but what do we know about the Red Devils' newest recruit?

United have revived their interest in the player having made a failed bid 12 months ago, per the Simon Stone of the BBC, and they could complete a £30 million deal for Herrera by as early as Tuesday. 

Then, the move was scuppered by the now infamous "dodgy lawyers" controversy when three impostors arrived at La Liga headquarters in an attempt to negotiate the transfer without the knowledge or consent of either United or Basque outfit Bilbao.

But a year later it looks like the Old Trafford side are finally about to get their man, with the 24-year-old set to be unveiled as the first signing of the Louis van Gaal era.

But who is Ander Herrera?

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 25: Ander Herrera of Athletic Bilbao gestures during the Copa del Rey Final match between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium on May 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Herrera was born in the Basque city of Bilbao in 1989 and started his budding playing career at Real Zaragoza's youth academy in 2004.

The central midfielder made his La Liga debut in August 2009 and made 82 appearances for Zaragoza's senior side, before moving back to boyhood club Bilbao in 2011, signing a five-year-deal.

Herrera has made 94 appearances for Bilbao, scoring seven goals, and his promising club form was set to see his transfer fee rise on 30 June under the terms of his contract before United made their move, per the Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.

Though he has never represented Spain's senior side, the youngster has made 20 appearances for La Furia Roja at under-20, under-21 and under-23 level, scoring seven international goals.

Herrera was absent from
Vicente del Bosque's World Cup squad, but he did make an impact in the final of the under-21 European Championships in 2011, scoring the first goal in a 2-0 win over Switzerland.

Now 24, and with Spain's midfield trio of Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta on their way out, it is expected Herrera will make the transition into del Bosque's senior setup soon.

Back at club level, Herrera averaged two shots per-game for Bilbao last season—more than most midfielders in La Liga—and finished the campaign with five goals and the same number of assists.

GETAFE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 28:  Ander Herrera (L) of Athletic Club argues with referee Gil Manzano during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Athletic Club at Coliseum Alfonso Perez stadium on October 28, 2013 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Get
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Another promising attribute of the midfielder is his passing ability, with United appearing to have at finally found a player to replace the long-departed Paul Scholes.

Herrera draws comparisons with another Manchester United midfield great—Roy Keane. The Spaniard picks up an average of one yellow card in every three-and-a-half games and is not afraid to make his presence known in the middle of the park with a tough tackle or two.

Herrera still has much to prove—particularly on the international scene, but the sight of him and compatriots Juan Mata and David de Gea lining up at the Theatre of Dreams next season will provide fans with encouragement that the club are heading back in the right direction.