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The Premier League champions were unwilling to meet the Athletic Bilbao star's £31 million release clause during late negotiations on transfer deadline day

By Paul Clennam

Manchester United’s deadline day move to sign Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao failed after the Premier League champions failed to meet the midfielder’s release clause.

Goal understands that United approached Bilbao with an informal proposal to offer below the £31m clause in the 24-year-old’s contract on Monday, but saw their approach rebuffed by the Basque outfit.

Sources close to the Premier League champions have revealed that United were confident of securing a deal for the Spain Under-21 international with only hours of the transfer window remaining.

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However, United officials were unwilling to meet the crucial clause in Herrera’s contract during negotiations with Athletic, despite the midfielder having privately made clear his desire to move to Old Trafford.

The Liga side's chairman, Josu Urrutia, confirmed that United had bid for Herrera on Friday, but the £25.5m offer was rejected out of hand and the Red Devils have since failed to reach an agreement.
"Our club is different, it bases itself on sentiment. Our goal is not to make money. We consider Athletic a unique club and the players have to think like that," said Urrutia last week.
   
"We received the proposal [Thursday] night and we said that we don't negotiate for our players. For a player to leave, he first has to show that he wants to leave the club then deposit the clause."

The Premier League champions may have struggled to agree a fee for the Spaniard, but Everton's Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini is set to move to Old Trafford.

The 28-year-old, who worked under David Moyes at Goodison Park, submitted a transfer request in order to force through a £24m move to United.

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