Friday, September 29, 2023

Manchester United Midfielder Wooed By La Liga Outfit: Should Mourinho Allow Him To Leave?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

According to latest reports, Athletic Bilbao are prepared to make Ander Herrera their highest paid player and give him an escape from the clutches of Jose Mourinho. The Manchester United midfielder has fallen below the pecking order under the Portuguese boss and the competition for his place seemingly will get tougher after the arrival of Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The 28-year-old did play a key rotational role for the Red Devils and helped secure the defensive strengths from the centre of the pitch. However, Fred is understandably a £52m upgrade who is much better suited to Mourinho’s system.

Herrera hardly featured on a regular basis last campaign but still registered 39 games under his belt. More often than not the Spaniard falls under the shadow of the central midfield duo of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.

Some could say that he still has value at Old Trafford, given the experience and the 5 seasons he has already played for the side. Herrera switched over to Manchester from Athletico as one of David Moyes’ star signings and ever since has racked up 161 total appearances in which he has delivered 17 goals and 23 assists.

Mourinho has utilised him tactically sometimes as a substitute and sometimes as an overpowering midfield figure. A player like Herrera could come handy in stretching the depth of the squad for the 2018/19 campaign but that will depend on the player’s wishes to submit to such a role.

United finished the 2017/18 season without any silverware and was completely wiped aside by their bitter rivals, Manchester City in the domestic stage. Pep Guardiola’s side finished 19 points ahead of the Red Devils and also registered the EFL League Cup.

Chelsea managed to triumph over United in the FA Cup final and the future of Mourinho at Manchester was heavily speculated on. Since Ed Woodward has given him an extra line to prove his worth, the Portuguese tactician is motivated to deliver silverware next term.

That could propose a ruthless decision making, including ignoring the talents of unnecessary personnel. Herrera will not only be returning to his former club, he would also be enjoying a prime role in a league he is already well accustomed to.

Read More: Bayern Munich Name Price Tag For Want-Away Hit Man: Should Manchester United Make A Move?

His chances of international selection will also increase significantly, something he has not managed since his debut in 2016. However, Mourinho should contest the move for the midfielder, especially with Marouane Fellaini no longer in the club as he will need the Spaniard’s crafty playmaking and defensive abilities to grind out results in multiple competitions.

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