Monday 22 January 2018

Ander Herrera reveals how close Alvaro Morata came to joining Manchester United

Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Samuel Lovett

Ander Herrera has admitted he “started to think” he would be playing alongside Alvaro Morata next season before Manchester United opted to sign Romelu Lukaku instead.

United approached 24-year-old Morata in May, ahead of the Champions League final, and negotiations gathered pace in the first half of June.

But after failing to reach an agreement with Real for the Spaniard, United turned their attention to Lukaku who they signed earlier this month for £75m.

It was a transfer that surprised many, including Herrera who says he had begun to envision lining up next to his fellow compatriot.

"I even started to think I'd be playing with Morata. He was really close to signing," he said after Sunday's win over LA Galaxy.

"It's a shame he's not with us but he's a top striker and will do well wherever he plays."

Manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that failure to reach an agreed fee for Morata prompted United to drop their interest in the forward.

"Yes, we have had interest [in Morata], that is obvious and it’s public,” the Portuguese said. “We have not come to an economic agreement - that is obvious as well.

“But it’s a Real Madrid’s right to ask for their players the amount of money that they want. We do not determine what the price is of a player of Real Madrid, Real Madrid do that.

"And we didn’t arrive at an agreement with Real Madrid. I do not criticise Madrid and I am not going to criticise my board because my board has made the offer, and they have tried to reach an agreement during a time, and they didn’t come to an agreement. It’s simple."

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