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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Athletic Bilbao president claims Ander Herrera deceived them ahead of Man United deal

Published 03/07/2014 | 13:37

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Ander Herrera with Manchester United great Bobby Charlton

Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia has claimed new Manchester United signing Ander Herrera deceived the Basque club before sealing his move to the Barclays Premier League.

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The 24-year-old midfielder's switch to Old Trafford was finalised last month in a £29million deal, after the English club paid his buy-out clause - nine months after an initial proposed switch had fallen through on transfer deadline day.

Athletic betrayed a sense of disquiet with Herrera the day the move was confirmed, releasing a statement declaring their "disappointment" at his decision to leave, adding "this is not a pleasant moment for the club".

In his first press conference since Herrera left, Urrutia said he had no indication that the midfielder wanted to depart for the Premier League and, following the sales of Javi Martinez, Fernando Llorente, and Herrera in the last two years, Urrutia stressed that the Basques did not aspire to be a selling club.

"For us, Ander Herrera was a player we expected to stay at the club," Urrutia said.

"According to what he said, Ander was delighted to be here and his only aspiration was to stay here."

Moments before the press conference, Athletic announced that midfielder Iker Muniain had signed a two-year contract extension.

Urrutia expressed his delight that the academy product had renewed his commitment to the club, signing a new deal which also sees his buy-out clause raised from 37.5million euros (£30million) to 45million euros (£35.9m).

"We've reached an agreement with Iker, which is good news," he said.

Referring to the departures of Martinez, Llorente and Herrera, Urrutia underlined the importance of holding on to Muniain, as the club prepare for their pre-season campaign and their Champions League play-off tie in August.

"We have had three exceptional cases recently. If it became a trend, it would be dangerous," he said.

"Our players' maximum aspiration has to be to stay at Athletic. We are looking forward to an exciting year, which starts on Monday."

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