Manchester United scouts are so prominent in the media these days that it's a wonder the club hasn't sourced a sponsor for them yet. Reports of various people watching games have increased hugely over the last couple of weeks and moved into mainstream reporting. Even David Moyes has been at it, having been seen watching Juventus in Italy on Sunday.
Phil Neville was in Spain but he wasn't the only one. Manchester United's Robbie Cooke was watching Athletic Bilbao destroy Almeria 6-1. He got to see probably Ander Herrera's best performance of the season and Spanish newspaper AS report on Monday that Manchester United have revived their interest in the player, but perhaps it never went away.
The midfielder's buyout clause increases to €40m at the end of June and is currently €36m, the Bilbao club have consistently refused to sell him for less.
Herrera himself has come out and said repeatedly that he's happy to stay in Bilbao, and AS repeat that, explaining that he has no interest in a move. That may be good PR, but let's not forget he was on the verge of moving to Manchester Untied last summer and had almost certainly given the deal his thumbs up.
The player was seen in Bilbao centre on deadline day and was rumoured to be waiting for the go-ahead to fly to Manchester to complete the deal.
Manchester United would pay far higher wages than Athletic and that could be a temptation. Also, Herrera has spent much of the season being pushed about the team, and out of the team, due to new signings. There's been more than one occasion when he's looked to have some kind of run-in with new manager Ernesto Valverde at the club's training ground.
David Moyes could find that form holds him back, Athletic are currently fourth in La Liga and have a good chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League, perhaps a better chance than Manchester United. However, Herrera will know that Manchester United won't plan to be in the current slump for long and if he's got any intention of furthering his career away from Bilbao then the midfielder will probably want to do that before his buyout clause goes up at the end of June.
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