PHOTO: Long-rumoured United target Muniain renews at Bilbao, now with €45m clause

Iker Muniain Spain V Morocco

Manchester United’s long-term transfer target Iker Muniain has signed a new contract extension at Athletic Bilbao.

Manchester United’s long-term transfer target has signed a new three-year extension with Athletic Bilbao, keeping him at the club until 2017 reports Athletic Bilbao's official website.

On signing the new deal, Muniain couldn't contain his delight as he told Athletic Bilbao’s official television channel how excited he is for next season.

He said: "Hello to everyone! I wanted to convey my happiness at renewing my contract with Athletic Club. For me it's a pleasure and an honour to defend this shirt and this club crest.”

"I'm really looking forward to getting this exciting new season started and to prepare for the qualifying game in the Champions League, which is really important for all of us.

"I want to send a big hug to all the fans, the club and all my teammates and all the people who form a part of this great family. See you soon!"

The 21-year-old star has long been in the minds of Man United after he helped the Basque outfit dump then-boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side out of the Europe League in 2012.

Displaying excellent ball control and movement reminiscent of Barcelona superstar Andres Iniesta, Manchester United immediately thought of him as the ideal solution to their long-term midfield problems.

A deal to bring the Spanish international to Old Trafford, however, never materialised and the youngster struggled to replicate the form shown under previous boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Following the Chilean coach’s exit along with star players Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente, Iker Muniain stepped up again and last season he scored seven La Liga goals and added a further three assists as he helped the club qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Keen not to lose him after the recent sale of former teammate Ander Herrera to Manchester United, Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia pulled out the stops to keep him at the club and even managed to increase his release clause from €37.5 million to €45 million.

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