MX23RW : Friday, October 19 07:41:39

In Profile: Ander Herrera

Sports Mole takes a look at new Manchester United signing Ander Herrera.

It has been a busy couple of days in the transfer market for Manchester United as they announced their first two signings of the summer - Southampton defender Luke Shaw and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, who have reportedly cost the club a combined total in the region of £60m.

As a regular for Southampton last season, and a member of England's World Cup squad this summer, Shaw is well known to followers of the Premier League, but Herrera may be a new name to some as he will be playing outside his native Spain for the first time in his career.

Sports Mole takes a closer look at the 24-year-old, who has been a long-time target for the club.


Herrera was born into a footballing family. His father is former Real Zaragova midfielder and general manager Pedro Maria Herrera. The younger Herrera followed in his father's footsteps, joining Zaragova in 2004 and spending four years with the youth team before moving into Zaragova B. He eventually making his senior debut in 2009.

The youngster's abilities soon caught the eye of Athletic Bilbao, and he joined them in 2011 for a fee believed to be in the region of €7.5m. The Spaniard has proved himself a versatile midfielder in La Liga, capable of dropping back into a more defensive role, as well as showing some attacking prowess. He's not known for his goalscoring, although he has popped up on the scoresheet from time to time, but his technical ability has seen him turn provider for Bilbao, a role he will surely look to continue for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford.

Herrera is noted for his ability to run with the ball, a skill that the United midfield will welcome following Ryan Giggs's retirement at the end of last season. His impressive pace has caused problems for defenders in La Liga, while his finely-tuned footwork can create space in the most organised of penalty areas.

Herrera's failed move to Old Trafford last season was perhaps a sign of things to come for David Moyes. The then-English champions believed that they were in advanced talks with Bilbao to buy Herrera, but were reportedly foiled by three people posing as club officials. However, it was later claimed that failed move was due to Moyes being unwilling to meet the release clause in Herrera's contract.

Delaying his move to the 20-time Premier League champions by a year may have proved a smart move for the midfielder. During the last couple of years Herrera has drawn comparison with a number of players, including Spain legend Xavi, who made his Barcelona debut under current Netherlands boss and imminent United manager Louis van Gaal.

Herrera will have to impress Van Gaal if he is to secure a regular place in his new side's starting lineup, as they already have a talented squad including the likes of Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and Michael Carrick, but the club's willingness to meet his release clause suggest that he will be a player to watch in the 2014-15 Premier League season.

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Manchester United's Interim manager Ryan Giggs thanks the fans after the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's stadium in in Southampton on May 11, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

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