Is this biggest sign yet that Herrera isn't favoured by van Gaal?

19 Old Trafford

Is Ander Herrera already surplus to requirements at Manchester United?

When Ander Herrera signed for Manchester United from Athletic Bilbao it seemed the Old Trafford faithful were finally about to see a quality addition to their central midfield.

For a reported £29million, United signed a highly-rated Spaniard a year after first being tipped to do so, and it was not long before the 25-year-old began to show what he could do, scoring two goals and setting up another in his first three appearances for the club.

A fractured rib saw him side-lined but on his return Herrera provided two assists in his first two league games back – against Hull City and Stoke City – while he also has one goal and one assist in just three FA Cup games this season.

So it may have come as a shock when United manager Louis van Gaal was asked if a creative midfielder was a priority summer signing this weekend, prompting the Dutchman to reply, “Yes, of course.”

Given a chance, Herrera could be exactly what United are crying out for – a central midfielder with a fantastic eye for a pass and the ability to pop up with vital goals. But for now he has to make do with cameo appearances, watching as a natural-born forward (Wayne Rooney) is played ahead of him in central midfield.

There is still plenty of time for Herrera to justify his price-tag at United, to show just how good he is, but if van Gaal does ultimately sign another creative central midfielder in the summer it will raise big questions over just how much football the Spaniard can expect to play.

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