Burgeoning creative midfielder Ander Herrera, 24, is reportedly nearing a £29 million transfer from Athletic Bilbao to Manchester United - but what are the Premier League club getting for their money and is the player comparable to other Spaniards in similar positions like Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, or Mesut Ozil, who had much success in Real Madrid and transferred to English club Arsenal last summer.
A report published on MARCA today, Tuesday, claimed that United were prepared to meet the buyout clause in Herrera's contract, rather than negotiate as this "proved to be what got in the way of negotiations last summer". Herrera is already completing personal terms in London, having agreed a four-year deal worth an approximate £50,000 per week.
Is he value for money, especially when the club failed to truly test Chelsea in what became a one-horse race for Francesc Fabregas?
|Club||Tackle /App||Pass /App||Pass Acc||Chance /App||Assist||Dribble /App||Shots/ App||Goals||Apps||Mins|
With Spain's attempted defence of their World Cup trophy lasting just two games due to humbling losses sustained against Netherlands (1-5) and Chile (0-2) ahead of a slight ego-restoring triumph over Australia (3-0), the nation are supposedly set to say 'adios' to a number of the golden generation - like Iker Casillas, like Xavi and potentially even Vicente del Bosque - which would mean players like Koke Resurreccion or Herrera could be integrated into the squad/first-team.
If Spain were to persist with a tiki-taka approach, Herrera would be a good fit as he appreciates the football in the same sense as Barcelona grass legend Iniesta, albeit with an additional five inches of height.
Herrera is a technically-adept midfielder, a chance creator and a visionary passer with good dribbling ability, close control and a typically Furia touch. His main weakness, however, is a perceived lack of speed - a trait absence that could have implications on his ability to swiftly acclimatise to the Premier League.
Where he would excel in England, is the fact he is not solely renowned for his ability to pick a pass, as he can also disrupt opposition play. This is demonstrated by his 3.1 tackles per appearance statistic, more than double each of Iniesta, Cesc and Ozil's return in the same area.
Considering Louis van Gaal may choose to position Wayne Rooney slightly behind Robin van Persie, or even utilise Juan Mata in a central position, the competition for places in the number 10 role is rife… Herrera may well be asked to fulfil a slightly different role, next to Michael Carrick - or destroyer Nigel de Jong if the Dutchman is acquired in a double signing.
While Herrera dominates the tackling stat, he falls considerably short when it comes to retaining possession as he has an 80% passing accuracy and attempts around 15 passes fewer each game on average than the other three players listed.
United may well admire Herrera for his 'bite' - intriguingly, his completion of 74 tackles for the entire La Liga season was a superior haul than every single one of the 23-man Spain squad that jetted out to Brazil… and have returned home already. Yet he never made the trip.