With just three days of the transfer window remaining, Manchester United have made several moves to try and make the first major signings of the David Moyes era. Midfield continues to be Moyes’s main area of focus, with Athletic Bilbao confirming on Friday that United have made a bid for Ander Herrera, while reports in Italy claim that an offer was also lodged for Roma’s Daniele de Rossi.
Herrera, 24, is a name that has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in the past, having played a starring role in Athletic’s victory over United in the Europa League 18 months ago. United’s bid for the former Spain Under-21 international was reportedly €30 million (£25.6m) and the La Liga club confirmed that they have turned it down.
“We have had an offer for Ander Herrera,” president Josu Urrutia said at a press conference, according to Sky Sports. “Our club is different, it is based on sentiment. Our objective isn't to make money.
"We received the offer last night and have communicated that we will not negotiate for our players. For a player to go, first the player must express his desire to leave the club and pay the release clause."
Herrera’s release clause is set at a reported €36 million (£30.7m) and it appears certain that United will have to pay that to bring the player to the club. Athletic, due to their policy of only having Basque players, are intent on holding onto their talent. Bayern Munich were forced to pay Javi Martinez’s €40 million release clause, while Fernando Llorente was not allowed to leave the club until his contract expired this summer.
Italian publication Corriere della Sera, meanwhile, is reporting that Manchester United have made a €12 million (£10.2m) offer for De Rossi. After spending his entire career with the club, the 30-year-old was expected to finally leave Roma this summer, with Chelsea linked with a move, following a difficult last season.
However, the story claims that the Italy international is now happy under new coach Rudi Garcia and has rejected the chance of a move to Old Trafford. De Rossi similarly turned down a transfer to Manchester City last summer. Corriere della Sera believes, though, that United will not give up easily and will return with a further approach before Monday’s transfer deadline.
The bids for the two midfielders may well be linked with United having an improved joint bid turned down for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines. According to The Guardian, Everton, having already rejected a joint offer of £28 million, have now said no to one of £36 million.
Given that Everton manager Roberto Martinez has admitted making an informal inquiry about Wigan midfielder James McCarthy, United look to have a better chance of luring Fellaini to Old Trafford with an individual bid. In contrast, Baines is thought to be deemed almost irreplaceable at Goodison Park.
Fellaini would also appear to be the player most needed at Old Trafford. The center of United’s midfield has not been tended to in several years, while, at left-back, Patrice Evra has returned to his impressive form of old. Alexander Buttner has been linked with a loan move away, but United still have Fabio as a back-up, with the Brazilian having returned from a loan spell at Queens Park Rangers last season.