Ander Herrera: Man Utd confirm deal for Athletic Bilbao midfielder

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By Simon Stone BBC Sport

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao.

The La Liga club rejected a £29m bid from United for the Spaniard on Thursday morning.

But Herrera has now activated a clause in his contract that has allowed the first transfer of Louis van Gaal’s tenure as manager to proceed.

“Signing for Manchester United is a dream come true,” said Herrera, who has agreed a four-year deal.

“I have joined United to do all I can to help the team reach the club’s objectives.

“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.”

United attempted to sign Herrera last year, only for the deal to fall through in farcical circumstances. 

The Premier League club have moved much more quickly this time around to capture a player who impressed against them in the Europa League in 2012 .

Athletic said earlier on Thursday that they had rejected bid from United, even though it matched the figure stated in Herrera’s release clause.

Old Trafford officials viewed it as a political stance from Bilbao, aimed merely at appeasing their own supporters.

“We aspire to have players whose first choice is to defend our shirt,” said the Basque outfit in a statement on their own website. “Ander’s decision doesn’t match that, which is disappointing.

“It’s not a pleasant moment, but it doesn’t alter our philosophy nor our way of working.”

Bilbao-born Herrera remains thankful to his home-town club.

“I will never forget my time with Athletic Club and I’d like to thank the fans and staff for all their support and above all wish all my fantastic former team-mates all the best for the future.”

 

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