It is now clear after their two most recent disappointing performances that Manchester United were not active enough in the summer transfer window. The club brought in Marouane Fellaini and one for the future Guillermo Varela and that was it.
On deadline day they came very close to snapping up Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera. The Basque creative midfielder has caught the eye in Spain over the past couple of seasons and is quite similar to another former Moyes favourite - Mikel Arteta.
They did not miss out on the star in vain however; they made several attempts to pry him away from Bilbao.
In the end they failed, but the price-tag for the player had risen to a rather extravagant €30 million - but United did not want to spend the €36 million release fee.
Signing players from Athletic Bilbao is notoriously difficult as the likes of Juventus and Bayern Munich have recently discovered in their drawn out attempts to get Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez - but both did eventually get their man.
The problem is also the fact Bilbao players rarely want to leave. They have a sense of national pride about representing their Basque club. But there comes a time when they realise the limitations of playing for this one nation policy side - and decide they want to leave.
Well a few days ago Herrera made it clear he was not one of those players.
The interest in the player was renewed last week as Herrera has struggled to get regular football this term.
But he made it clear that he was going nowhere last week stating:
"I appreciate both Manchester United’s interest in me and the fact that I am considered so important to Athletic that they did not accept any bid for me. That means that Athletic values me above money and trust in me more than money for our current project. I’m right where I want to be. I’m not a player who wants to change teams, I’ve taken root at Athletic and it is the perfect place for me to be.”
But the rumours persist so he decided to be more concrete with his desire to stay at San Mames today, even suggesting he wants a contract extension:
“It is not something that I am going to talk about any more, it does not help. I have explained what I have had to. I’m happy here, I have always said that, and will continue with Athletic. Do I then plan to sign an extension? Yes.”
Seems that United will have to explore other options.
image: © birasuegi