Athletic Bilbao confirm they want to sign Ander Herrera next summer

by Leo Nieboer

Athletic Bilbao’s sporting director Rafael Alkorta has confirmed the club wants to resign Ander Herrera in the summer transfer window.

The Spaniard made 128 appearances for the La Liga side in all competitions before joining Manchester United in 2014.

Man United recently activated a clause on Herrera’s deal keeping him at Old Trafford for an additional year, but he has been free to speak with other clubs since January 1.

Speaking earlier this week, Alkorta made it clear that Herrera had emerged on Bilbao’s radar ahead of the summer.

“We are interested in Javi Martínez, Ibai, Ander Herrera, [Fernando] Llorente… we’re interested in all of them,” he said.

Losing the 29-year-old would mean letting go of an enormous personality on and off the pitch – someone who, to many supporters, deserves the captain’s armband more than anybody in the current squad.

He is not the type of player who starts every game but the intensity with which he presses in midfield, engaging masterfully in the art of ‘shithousing’, brings enormous value to United in big games. Herrera is in many ways the post-Ferguson era Ji-Sung Park.

As a squad player used selectively, Herrera can be an important servant to this club for many years to come. Whether he would opt for that role over guaranteed starts back in Spain, however, remains to be seen.

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