Manchester United rounded off their 2016-17 campaign on a high note on Wednesday night, winning the Europa League in Stockholm 2-0 against Ajax.
Goals from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were enough for Jose Mourinho’s men to claim victory, with participation in next season’s Champions League secured as a result.
All eyes will now start to look towards the summer transfer market, with United expected to splash the cash in a bid to fight for major silverware in 2017-18.
However, the Red Devils may well face a fight to hold onto one of their crucial players, if reports in Spain are to be believed.
Catalan newspaper Sport has today published a front-page news report suggesting that United midfield stalwart Ander Herrera is in the gaze of Barcelona.
The Camp Nou side are widely expected to confirm Ernesto Valderde as their new head coach early this week, who will replace Luis Enrique at the Blaugrana helm.
The former Athletic Bilbao trainer worked with Herrera at San Mames for a year before the midfielder moved to Old Trafford – and the report suggests the new Barcelona coach will look to reunite with the 27-year-old.
— FC Barcelona Fl (@FCBarcelonaFl) May 24, 2017
It states that the Catalan hierarchy have already discussed potential transfer targets with Valverde, who prefers the United man over Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti.
Herrera was signed at considerable expense back in 2014 and it took time for the Spaniard to establish himself at Old Trafford.
However in the last 12 months in particular the Spaniard’s importance to the United team has become clear, with Mourinho clearly a fan of the all-action midfielder.
Herrera started 27 Premier League games this season and has become essential in dictating the play while the Red Devils are in possession and leading the drive to win the ball back when they are not.
An ideal accompaniment to Paul Pogba in the United midfield, the Spaniard will surely be an essential player as United look to fight for the title next season.
However, Barcelona’s interest could make things slightly awkward for Mourinho and the powerbrokers at Old Trafford.
With David De Gea already being linked with a move to Real Madrid, the last thing the English club will want is more speculation over one of their key players.
While United are well within their rights to decline any potential Barcelona advance, should Herrera be open to the potential to return to his homeland and want to join the Catalan side, it could make things difficult.
The Red Devils have succumbed to interest from the Clasico giants over the years when their players are coveted, with Gerard Pique and Cristiano Ronaldo moving to La Liga when offers have been made.