Barcelona are expected to announce Ernesto Valverde as their new manager on Monday afternoon, and the Spanish coach has already told the club who he wants to sign.
Luis Enrique announced his decision to leave Camp Nou earlier this year and took charge of his final match in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final triumph.
Athletic Bilbao boss Valverde is widely expected to be unveiled as his successor, and he has made Ander Herrera his No.1 target according to Spanish publication AS.
The new manager has identified midfield as a major area of weakness and believes Herrera, his favourite player, is the missing ingredient.
The feeling is mutual, too, with Herrera reciprocating that admiration for both Valverde and Barcelona and having spent a season under the coach in his final year in Bilbao.
Barca believe Herrera can play in any of the midfield roles in a 4-3-3 formation and have Jose Mourinho to thank for moulding Herrera into a more defensively aware player.
United, however, intend to try and renew Herrera’s contract with the club, while their qualification for the Champions League means he is in no rush to leave Old Trafford.
Ideally, Barcelona would like to pair Herrera with PSG’s Marco Verratti, though again they face a difficult and expensive task in trying to bring the Italian maestro to Camp Nou.