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Herrera pays own buy-out clause to join United

ESPN staff
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Ander Herrera was a target for Manchester United last summer © Getty Images
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Ander Herrera has joined Manchester United having paid his own buy-out clause at Athletic Bilbao.

The Spanish club confirmed the action by the player in a statement, having initially refused a £28.4 million bid from United. Herrera soon changed his official Twitter profile picture to one of him and Sir Bobby Charlton - a United director - holding up a Manchester United shirt, with United themselves confirming the deal soon after.

A statement from Athletic Bilbao confirmed Herrera's move to end his contract at the club, and added: "The Athletic Club thanks Ander Herrera for his dedication during the three seasons he has enjoyed the club and wishes him the best in his future sports projects."

United had believed they were closing on a deal for the Spanish midfielder following their failure to sign him last summer, only for Bilbao to insist they had turned down United's bid.

Herrera, 24, was believed to have a £28.4m (€36m) release clause in his contract with Bilbao, which was due to go up by a further £4.8m at the start of July.

However, Athletic posted a brief statement on their website saying that they had declined to accept United's approach - following in Liverpool's footsteps of turning down Arsenal's approach for Luis Suarez last summer.

"Athletic Club wish to communicate that this week it has rejected an offer from Manchester United FC, of €36m, to transfer the federative and economic rights of the player Ander Herrera."

Herrera, who was originally a target for former manager David Moyes, becomes Louis van Gaal's first signing.

The Netherlands' manager had opted not to pursue Cesc Fabregas and Toni Kroos - two midfielders Moyes wanted to sign - as United decided to go for Herrera.

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