Player profile: Ander Herrera, Athletic Bilbao, midfielder

Ander Herrera is used to facing the best. Photo: PA

Name: Ander Herrera

Position: Centre midfield

Born: 1989

Club: Athletic Bilbao

Country: Spain

Manchester United are now down to about Plan M in terms of their summer transfer activity, but lucky for them, Ander Herrera is a lot better than that.

The Basque playmaker is the latest player to be linked with an overpriced move to Old Trafford, as David Moyes looks to strengthen a midfield which lacks options.

Herrera, who was born in Bilbao, arrived at Athletic from Real Zaragoza for a bargain €8million back in 2011 to form a pivotal part in the club's three-man midfield.

Alongside Oscar De Marcos and Ander Iturraspe, he was a key component in one of the most complimentary midfields in Europe at the time; De Marcos provided the energy and thrust, while Iturraspe sat in front of the defence, and Herrera was the one with guile and composure further up the field.

The link-up play from Herrera in the final third with Iker Muniain and Markel Susaeta allowed Fernando Llorente to fire Athletic to two prestige finals, even if they did fall short in the end.

In his first season at San Mames, under the maverick Marcelo Bielsa, the club reached both the Europa League and Copa del Rey final, with Herrera an almost ever-present in that run.

A hernia injury set him back last season, as he looked tired following a monumental effort in 2011/12, which was not a unique situation at the club, as many of the squad seemed permanently lethargic.

Bielsa's second year in charge was ultimately a failure, as he lost the majority of the dressing room thanks to a collection of odd on and off field decisions.

Ander, however, finished the season with his reputation improved following some impressive displays, as he lead Athletic away from the relegation zone by holding together a factious side.

He is also known to be a well-spoken, thoughtful footballer, which should help him if he were to depart the home comforts of Bilbao for Manchester, a city he has already impressed in as Athletic downed United in the Europa League in 2011/12 in two games the Red Devils faithful will never forget.

Although not a full international yet, Herrera has appeared for every age group, including being part of the Olympic squad in 2012, and could quite easily earn a call-up to Vicente del Bosque's squad this season.

At only 24 Herrera has a lot of time to improve, and is exactly what United are looking for, and he will excite Old Trafford, if he were to arrive in Manchester on transfer deadline day.

Ander is no stranger to Old Trafford. Credit: PA
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Slightly surprised Manchester United didn't move earlier, but the way the market has turned out £31M (release clause) isn't too outrageous

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Would Herrera improve Manchester United's midfield? Yes. Would he offer qualities that they currently lack? Yes.

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A load of Prem clubs were interested in Herrera at Zaragoza but wouldn't pay the €8m for a player of that age! Profit time for Athletic!