In the summer Manchester United were struggling in the transfer market and they missed out on many transfer targets. One player who slipped through the net was Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera. They had a third party apparently doing the negotiating for the Bilbao player and what ensued was a calamity.
Bilbao are notoriously difficult negotiators and the club were refusing to budge from the players £29.9 million buyout clause.
So Herrera stayed - and now it seems his decision was justified.
Athletic Bilbao have qualified for their first Champions League campaign in 16 years after a 3-0 win against Rayo Vallecano yesterday put them clear of the chasing pack in fourth.
It is a truly amazing achievement from a side whose talent pool consists only of Basque born or heritage players to finish in the top four of one of the most diverse leagues on the planet.
Not only that, but he also helped them on their way by scoring a superb free-kick with 20 minutes left- adding to goals by Mikel San Jose and Oscar De Marcos to make it three.
At the start of the year Herrera spoke about playing Champions League football with Bilbao - stating:
“Top four would be great but I don’t want to put a roof on things. I still think the dream is to play in the Champions League.”
And now he can fulfil his dream - and he didn’t need to leave his beloved Bilbao to do so.
Any hope of signing him next season for United or anybody else interested seems to be an unlikely prospect.