By Paul Clennam
Manchester United are closing in on a €35 million deal for Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, Goal understands.
The 24-year-old has been offered a staggering €181,000-a-week contract, with United dispatching a lawyer to Spain to thrash out a deal and the player having already bid farewell to his team-mates.
United are keen to finalise a move for Herrera in the coming days as they look to exploit a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for €35m - a figure that would rise to around €40m on July 1.
New United boss Louis van Gaal, who takes over at Old Trafford after his World Cup commitments with Netherlands, has given the green light to the move as he looks to shape his squad for an assault on the Premier League title in 2014-15.
Herrera, who joined Athletic from Real Zaragoza back in 2011, has long been a transfer target for United, with the Red Devils having failed with a €32m bid to sign him on the final day of the summer transfer window last year.
Then manager David Moyes instead moved to seal a £27.5m deal for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, although Goal understands that the majority of groundwork for Herrera's impending switch to Old Trafford was completed in 2013.
With Chelsea having secured the signature of Cesc Fabregas, and Diego Costa already on his way to Stamford Bridge after the World Cup, United are also signalling their intent to make a splash in the transfer market with their pursuit of Herrera.
Van Gaal has already discussed his list of potential targets with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, with Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, who will start England's final Group D clash against Costa Rica on Tuesday, already agreeing to move to Old Trafford.