Tottenham tried their luck with a late January swoop for Ander Herrera but, ultimately, were turned down. And that’s because the Paris Saint-Germain star would only return to England if it’s to play for Manchester United. The midfielder spent five years at the club before ultimately leaving in the summer of 2019.
United have shown no indication they’d re-sign Herrera.
Though the club still need a defensive-midfielder, the Spain international is viewed as a figure of the club’s past – rather than their future.
Herrera has never hid his admiration for United and, upon leaving, signalled he’d be open to returning one day in some capacity.
“I want to say thank you to everyone and I hope the supporters have all appreciated that I have always tried to represent every single Manchester United fan in the best way, on the pitch and off it,” he said at the time.
“I have tried to involve myself in the community as well and to be at the level that Manchester United deserve.
“I hope when I come back to see the club and to see the city I will still have the fans’ love and support.”
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Yet the France international ended up moving to Lyon on loan instead, with the Ligue 1 side having an option to buy him permanently at the end of the campaign.
PSG could still look to offload Herrera in the summer transfer window as they look to balance their finances in the wake of Lionel Messi’s arrival.
But United are understood to have other targets in mind.
They’re big admirers of West Ham star Declan Rice, who impressed as his side beat Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Signing him won’t be easy, however, with Chelsea and Manchester City also interested in snapping him up.
United have been linked with Ruben Neves of Wolves, but he’ll likely cost in the region of £50million.
Aston Villa’s John McGinn is another player admired, though whether Steven Gerrard would let him move to Old Trafford is a different matter entirely.
Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni has been linked with United as well, especially after helping France win the Nations League last year.
And RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara is believed to be admired by Ralf Rangnick, though he’s unlikely to be the man in charge of United come the beginning of next season.
Meanwhile, speaking in June 2020, Herrera elaborated on his United exit and insisted he still respected the board of his old side.
“When I look back a year ago, my intention was not to leave Manchester United,” Herrera told ESPN.
“I had some different opinions with the board but I respect them. I respect them a lot.
“They do things for Manchester United and I disagree with the people who say they don’t.
“They really suffer when things don’t go well and they really fight to bring Manchester United back.
“I disagreed with some of the decisions they made but this happens in football. It happens in every company.
“Apart from that, I respect them. I had a great relationship with Ed Woodward and with the owners when they came so I have nothing to complain about with them.
“He [Solskjaer] did a lot for me to stay, but things did not happen, they [United] arrived late, and by then I had already made the decision to play in Paris.”