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Transfer Tales: Herrera’s 2014 move to United

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Today (Saturday 26 June) marks the seventh anniversary of Ander Herrera’s transfer from Athletic Bilbao to Manchester United.

The Spanish midfielder moved from Los Leones (The Lions) in 2014 and went on to make 189 appearances for United.

During his six-year stay with the Reds, he won the FA Cup, EFL Cup, Community Shield and Europa League.

Herrera departed in 2019 when he joined then French champions Paris Saint-Germain, signing a five-year-deal. He has since added French domestic honours, including Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France to his accolades.

First breaking on to the scene with Real Zaragoza back in 2008, at just 19 years old, the midfielder was a mainstay the following season, helping his boyhood club retain their top-flight status while also netting his first goal in a 4-1 defeat to RCD Mallorca.

Two years later, he would swap Zaragoza for Bilbao, joining the club on a five-year-contract for a reported fee of around €7.5 million. Appearing 128 times for the Basque club, he most notably helped the side reach both the Copa del Rey and Europa League finals in his first season. Ander also aided the team in qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in 16 years, in 2014.

The same year, Herrera paid his own buyout clause to join United that very summer, after impressing the season before in a Europa League game at Old Trafford. Bilbao won the game 3-2, with the player later admitting that he himself believes it was one of the best games he has played in his career.

Joining for a fee of £28.85 million pounds, the midfielder fast became known for his tough tackling and technical playmaking abilities, capable of breaking the lines and finding a killer pass in key areas.

Then United assistant manager Ryan Giggs was full of praise for United’s ability to secure his signature, marking the first signing of the Louis van Gaal era. 

“Ander is a fantastic young player, with great energy and creativity. We believe him to be one of the brightest young prospects in Spain. I’m delighted he has made the decision to come to Manchester and play his part in the club’s future,”

said Giggs back in 2014.

The Spaniard was not always known for his goal-scoring traits, but did net 20 times for the Reds during his tenure. His first FA Cup goal was a stunning, looping strike in a 2-0 win over Yeovil Town back in 2015. 

Being able to open up defences with a single pass was a wonderful element of the midfielder’s game, with his time at United decorated with stunning assists. 

Herrera was voted Player of the Year back in 2017, turning out 50 times for the Reds and recording 11 assists, as well as scoring twice in a season in which United won the EFL Cup and the Europa League under then manager Jose Mourinho. 

Picking out Juan Mata in a crowded penalty area in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal back in 2016 combined with his sublime assist for Paul Pogba in the 3-2 comeback win that denied City the chance to win the title against United back in 2018 were standout moments for a player who grabbed the hearts of the United faithful, before his time at the club came to an end just a year later.

Ander Herrera: The farewell interviewVideo

WHAT THEY SAIDAnder Herrera:

“Signing for Manchester United is a dream come true. Having arrived on Tuesday, I’m excited to now be living in Manchester and I can’t wait for my first game in United’s famous red shirt.’’ Ander Herrera

Rio Ferdinand:

“Congratulations to Ander Herrera on joining a great club. It’s where dreams are made into reality if you work hard. You will.’’

Sir Alex Ferguson:

“He’s athletic, quite aggressive actually, for a lad who’s not got a great frame. He’s quite slim but he gets around the pitch.’’

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