Manchester United have spent the last several years pretending that they don't have a gaping hole in their central midfield. Only Sir Alex Ferguson's wizardry has kept that from sinking the team, but it appears as if they are finally moving to fix their one glaring problem.
Pachuca officials have confirmed that they are speaking with the Red Devils about selling Hector Herrera to Manchester United, while Liverpool have also shown interest. The 22-year-old Herrera showed the Euro-centric world at the Toulon Tournament and Olympics this summer what the Mexicans have known since he made his debut for the Tuzos last year -- Herrera is an exceptional young midfielder.
Now that Herrera is not just some secret hidden in Mexico like there aren't satellites that transmit matches from far away, the rest of the world wants in on him.
Consider that in the Olympics Gold Medal Match he stood across from Sandro and Romulo and was the best player in the midfield. He played against Swansea's newest signing Ki Sung-Yeung, too, and proved to be the better player. He was also named Most Outstanding Player at the Toulon Tournament, where he battled Paul Pogba and stood toe-to-toe with Gueida Fofana.
That opened the eyes of everyone outside of Mexico, but Herrera had spent a year proving himself in Liga MX. Week in, week out he played the likes of Jesus Zavala, Luis Perez, Gerardo Torrado, Jesus Molina and Manuel Viniegra, among others, and never looked any worse for the wear.
While not a bulldozer by any means, Herrera is big enough to hold his own in the middle and has a clean passing game that does well to transition his team from defending to attacking quickly. He is a true box-to-box midfielder who has shown a knack for doing the little things, be it a clever first touch in traffic or a timely tackle on the break, that is rare for a younger player.
Most impressive is his range, which he uses just as effectively in the attack as he does in defense. While range in a central midfielder is usually used to describe a player who have the pace to press opposing central midfielders, shield the defense and cover for fullbacks when called upon, Herrera uses his range as effectively going forward. He shows wide to support teammates and does exceptionally well to push forward. It isn't limited to just finding space in the box with a late run to score, but also to collect the ball in the attacking third and also serve as an additional creative player in the final third to break down defenses.
It's not hard to imagine why United and Liverpool want a player like Herrera, but why don't Spurs? With Luka Modric on the way out, Tottenham are on the lookout for a central midfielder to partner Sandro, Jake Livermore or Scott Parker.
All three of them have their issues, be it Sandro's passing, Livermore's struggles to push forward and create from different places or Parker's ineffectiveness in the final third. Those are all things that Herrera does very well and the Mexican's biggest fault, being overeager and pulling himself out of position, is well compensated by any of the other three.
Pachuca value Herrera at £10 million, which is more than fair for a player like Herrera. Of course that comes with some summer inflation after the way he played in the Old World, but even £12 million or £13 million wouldn't be an unfair price for a 22-year-old central midfielder who has proved that he can stand right up against many of the others considering among the best young central midfielders in the world.
Herrera's price is also only one-third of what Spurs will sell Modric for. Toss in that he is more versatile than Joao Moutinho and much more of a two-way player than Yann M'Vila for only a fraction of the price to go with being younger than them both and the smart move becomes more and more clear.
While the Red Devils haggle with Pachuca and the Reds sit idly by, what would stop Tottenham from stepping in and beating snapping up the young Mexican? At this point, only common sense.
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