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Bilbao reject bid for United target Herrera

ESPN staff
August 30, 2013
Ander Herrera won the European Under-21 Championship with Spain in 2011 © Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao have turned down a bid for reported £26 million Manchester United target Ander Herrera.

Both AS and Marca reported on Friday morning that United had made a move for the midfielder, but that Athletic were standing firm and wanted to keep him.

At a press conference on Friday morning, Athletic president Josu Urrutia confirmed his club told reporters that a bid had been made but that they have no intention of selling their best players.

"There is an offer for Ander Herrera," Urrutia said. "Our club is different, it is based on a feeling. Our objective is not to make money. We received an offer last night, but we have already told them that we do not negotiate for our players."

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Herrera, a European Under-21 Championship winner with Spain in 2011, joined Athletic for €8.5 million from Real Zaragoza two summers ago. He then signed a contract tying him to the club until 2016 with a release clause of €36 million.

Urrutia, who played similar hardball when Bayern Munich and Juventus came calling for Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente 12 months back, said that any club who wanted to sign 'Ander' would need to pay the full amount.

"For a player to leave the player must show his desire to leave the club and deposit the release clause money [with the federation]," he said. "For us, Athletic is a unique club. The players have to feel that."

Herrera was a key man in Athletic's run to the 2011-12 Europa League final under Marcelo Bielsa, starting both games as United were beaten 5-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of that competition. He remains a vital part of new boss Ernesto Valverde's team, playing a more advanced No. 10 role as Athletic have started the season with two wins from their opening two Primera Division games.

He is the fifth La Liga playmaker to have been linked with the Old Trafford club this summer. Proposed moves for Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric have all fallen through at various stages in recent months.

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