There’s never been a point when acquiring both midfielders could be ruled out, but as the morning’s progressed. it seemed increasingly possible Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera were backups for each other with Manchester United. Who was choice A, nobody knew, but as the 6:00 p.m. Eastern transfer deadline approached, it looked less and less likely that the Red Devils would be able to acquire both.
Less likely, but not impossible, as the latest reporting from the Guardian hints. According to Spain-based correspondent Sid Lowe, United representatives are in Bilbao to pay Herrera’s $47.5 million buyout. At the same time, Fellaini — who was back in Liverpool training with Everton — handed in a transfer request to Roberto Martínez just minutes ago, per Andy Hunter. The big Belgian had been allowed to undergo a physical with United earlier in the day.
Assuming the reporting’s correction (they’re both strong accounts from reputed journalists), it’s still unclear both will end up at Old Trafford. The Herrera story is obviously stronger than Fellaini’s. The possibility, however, of United featuring a grossly bulked-up midfield in a few weeks’ time remains.
Fellaini and Herrera playing with Michael Carrick may not solve all of United’s problems, but it will address the one mentioned by most.
Update: AS is reporting a snag, but one that hints the Herrera move may be destined to go down: