Manchester United’s lack of communication with Ander Herrera has played a major part in the midfielder’s plans to leave Old Trafford at the end of his contract.
The 29-year-old has been with the Old Trafford giants since making a big-money switch from Athletic Bilbao in 2014, signing a four-year deal with the option of a further season.
United invoked that clause just before last year’s deadline but have failed to negotiate a new deal with the club’s 2016-17 player of the season, despite the midfielder’s initial, and long-standing, intention to stay beyond the summer.
It is understood that communication lines went quiet for three months around the start of the year – an unsettling period in which Herrera is believed to have committed to Paris St Germain over another option.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment as manager is thought to have brought about a renewed push from United to agree terms, but it looks to have been too little, too late – despite his current club being prepared to make an offer in excess of the wages reported.
United have even begun to pursue potential replacements, with Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye top of the list.
This week Herrera was quoted by Diario ABC as saying that “Manchester and I are not thinking alike” at the moment, but his pledge to “listen to United” raises questions over the binding the nature of his commitment.
As it stands, though, the Spaniard will not be at Old Trafford next season, which would represent an unsatisfactory end to Herrera’s five-year stint at a club where he became a popular and influential figure.
The Spanish midfielder would join club captain Antonio Valencia in leaving United at the end of his contract, while it remains to be seen whether popular midfielder Juan Mata will agree a new deal with United.
The 30-year-old is attracting widespread interest but, like Herrera, there has been an impasse in negotiations.