Since his very beginning at Zaragoza Ander Herrera has attracted the attention of Spanish supporters, who now see in any talented young midfielder a new Xavi Hernandez or Andres Iniesta. Herrera' style is about halfway between the Barcelona pair, but he is yet to prove his worth with the Spanish national team – with Koke and Thiago Alcantara having overtaken him in the race for a place in the La Roja squad.

Herrera proved to be a sensation for Zaragoza in 2009, helping his side secure promotion to the top flight even though he was just a teenager. As his star continued to rise, Bilbao seized upon his Basque origin (they are still bound to a Basque-only players rule) to meet his €8.5 million valuation and secure the services of one of the best young talents around La Liga.

Herrera has since become an even better player thanks to his innate skill as well as the tutelage of both Marcelo Bielsa and Ernersto Valverde, who have given him the freedom and the responsibility to lead the midfield of the team which finished fourth in La Liga last season.

Even though he is yet to make his debut for Spain first team he won the under-21 Euros in 2011 alongside Juan Mata, and played a part in his country's 2012 Olympic campaign [albeit with far less success]. After Spain's failure in Brazil, Herrrera has been earmarked as a player who can replace Xavi in Vicente Del Bosque's side.

Van Gaal was the manager who gave Xavi his debut at the Nou Camp and is hoping Herrera grows into a Mk 2 version.


Herrera can either play as a central midfielder or as a number 10. Even though last season he usually played behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation, he will probably return to a deeper role with Louis van Gaal, one of the three midfielders shaping the game in the Dutch manager's 4-3-3. He will provide a perfect link between the back line and the attack.


More talented than physical, Herrera has a magnificent first touch and the special ability to shape the game both from a playmaker role or in a deeper position. With Bielsa, playing as a central midfield, he proved two seasons ago he can control the tempo of the game like Xavi, while under Valverde he has shown he has a final ball worthy of Iniesta.


Considering that Chelsea have signed Cesc Fabregas for around £26m, £29m for a player that did not even make Spain's World Cup squad looks pricey indeed.

The Spaniard will have to deal with that pressure at Old Trafford but also will need to improve considerably on his goal output - his five goals and six assists during last season don't look enough for a number ten.