United have long needed to improve their central midfield options, and the £27.5m capture of Everton's Marouane Fellaini last summer did little to rectify their problems. Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley also struggled to perform consistently under David Moyes, and new manager Louis van Gaal ultimately had to spend big to bring in a top midfield player.
Bayern Munich duo Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos had been strongly linked, as had Roma's Kevin Strootman, but it appears that van Gaal could have landed his target - and it's a player that United and Moyes ultimately failed to bring to Old Trafford a year ago.
For weeks last summer, it seemed that United would snap up Athletic Bilbao star Herrera in a whopping £30m deal, yet, after a number of issues - including imposters turning up at the LFP offices - the transfer fell through, leaving Herrera, 24, to play out the season with Athletic.
Some had recently suggested that United would be returning with another bid, and reports in Spain confirm that that's the case - only this time, United have matched Herrera's €36m (£29m) release clause, and he looks poised to become United's first signing of the summer and van Gaal's first capture as Red Devils boss.
According to AS, the deal has gathered pace over the past few days - mostly because Herrera's release clause would have increased to €40m (£32m) on the 1st of July. Cadena Ser had previously reported that the transfer of Herrera to Old Trafford would be announced in the coming hours, and AS' confirmation of the move seems to suggest that the former Real Zaragoza man will finally become a Manchester United player.
An immensely skilful midfielder with superb control and passing range, Herrera is seen as one of the stars of the next wave of Spanish talent - and could be a prime candidate to replace Xavi in Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad after their World Cup nightmare.
It may be a year late, but it appears that United have - finally - landed their top midfield target.