What’s the story?
Barcelona have renewed their interest in signing Manchester United star Ander Herrera, according to reports in Spain. The Red Devils will be loathe to let go a player who has become a vital cog in Jose Mourinho’s midfield, and thus are asking for a fee in the range of €70 million, or perhaps a swap deal with Blaugrana midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
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Ander Herrera is in the prime of his career, and was reportedly a target for Barcelona last summer, as the Spaniard had grown unsettled with the arrivals of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin. However, Herrera has proven his class in Manchester United’s midfield – and is now a firm fan favourite at Old Trafford.
The heart of the matter
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has fielded a number of midfield combinations this season, an problematic issue that was worsened thanks to Andres Iniesta’s injury. The Catalans brought in Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes this summer, but while the pair have been adequate enough in midfield, Luis Enrique is apparently unhappy that they have failed to live up to Barcelona’s supreme expectations.
Ivan Rakitic’s current situation could also prove to be a solution to Barcelona’s chase of Ander Herrera. The Croatian midfielder has noted his desire to stay at Barcelona, having played down links to Manchester United, but Luis Enrique considers Rakitic to be in a downward phase of his career, and is hoping to upgrade to Herrera.
Herrera will no doubt command a sizeable fee, but Barcelona have a great bargaining chip in Rakitic. Jose Mourinho is reportedly a fan of the Croatian star, and could be tempted with a cash-plus-exchange offer for Herrera. Barcelona are unlikely to pay the full €70 million fee that Manchester United have placed on Herrera’s head and thus could be resigned to losing Rakitic.
Herrera’s tough tackling nature in the Premier League could prove to be a boon for Barcelona, as they have often looked overrun in midfield in a few of their performances this season. The Spaniard is incredibly good at controlling a midfield, and thus the tempo of the game – a perfect fit for Barcelona’s midfield.
Meanwhile, Ivan Rakitic’s direct style of play could fit right in at Manchester United, especially with Jose Mourinho looking to bring back the high-tempo game mastered by Sir Alex Ferguson back to Old Trafford.
It could be a win-win situation for both clubs, and a swap deal could be masterstroke for both clubs involved.