• Premier League

Fellaini and Herrera now prime targets for United

ESPN staff
August 31, 2013
Marouane Fellaini has been linked with a move away from Everton throughout the summer © PA Photos

Manchester United are "utterly determined" to bolster their midfield before Monday night's transfer deadline, club sources have told ESPN.

United are hoping to bring in two players in that area, with Everton's Marouane Fellaini and Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera now the prime targets. Such purchases, however, may require a collective fee of around €70 million.

Athletic's president, Josu Urrutia, confirmed on Friday morning that his club had rejected a €30m bid for Herrera, kicking off what one source described as a "frantic" day of activity at Old Trafford.

There have also been reports in the international press of bids for both Real Madrid's Kaka and Daniele De Rossi of Roma, but it is unknown at present if they are anything more than back-up options to the main targets. It has been confirmed by club sources that Kaka - who has said he wants to leave Madrid - does interest them as a potential impact signing.

United are primarily mulling over what to do next as regards Herrera, particularly given the complex nature of the player's release clause and the associated tax issues. It is believed that Athletic may accept a straight offer close enough to the €36m release clause if the player wishes to go, but Urrutia has suggested that is not the case.

"If someone wants to break their contract, they must show they want to leave and that's not been the case with Ander," he said, although he acknowledged he had not spoken to the player about the issue.

There remains a degree of relaxation at Old Trafford about an eventual deal for Fellaini, if also a realisation that United will have to go higher. David Moyes - who gave little away on his transfer targets on Friday - may be prepared to sacrifice the signing of Leighton Baines if it meant securing the Belgium midfielder.

Club sources have said that, despite the team's impressive start to the season, it has not altered Moyes' opinion that the midfield needs restructuring. He is said to feel that it most needs an element of power and drive "in the mould of Yaya Toure", as well as an all-rounder.

Despite a previous feeling that they could get Chelsea's Juan Mata, those hopes have receded with Wayne Rooney now looking set to stay at United.

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