Reports linking Ander Herrera to Paris Saint-Germain over the past 24 hours have intensified.
Journalist Duncan Castles reports via Daily Record that Herrera has agreed a pre-contract deal.
Herrera has been in form for United in recent months and losing him on a free would be poor business.
United are said to be unwilling to want to pay his £200,000 per week wage demands.
It’s not an easy potential departure to take. Here are five stages of reaction to the reports…
Despite the claims a deal has been ‘agreed’, there is nothing official. At this stage we can still cling on to hope that Herrera could stay.
The Telegraph addressed the reports, stating Herrera does have an offer from PSG on the table which betters United’s, but stopped short of saying it’s done.
At best there is a 50-50 chance of Herrera stating put.
Perhaps it’s already done, and we are kidding ourselves.
At this point we turn to Ed Woodward. Herrera is still an asset to United, letting him go on a free is awful business. It should never have been allowed to get to this situation.
When Ashley Young and Phil Jones are tied to extensions, it is disappointing that middle ground cannot be found with Herrera.
The ridiculous wages handed out to Alexis Sanchez have messed up the pay scale at Old Trafford.
There is an argument that United are being sensible by not caving to Herrera’s demands too. But Sanchez’s salary has raised the bar, and this is a consequence.
Marcus Rashford and David de Gea both have contracts which expire in a year’s time and United cannot afford to lose either of them too.
On the pitch and off it, Herrera behaves like a United captain, there’s so much to be admired.
It’s one of the reasons his exit hurts, for him to potentially walk out on the club like this. Football is a cold business sometimes.
As for why he would choose PSG, that’s another matter.
United have just knocked them out of the Champions League, and while he can win medals in France, the lack of competition for the title makes success there somewhat hollow.
There are practical questions to be asked here. How does this affect United on the pitch for the rest of the season?
Will Herrera be phased out of the starting line up? How will fans respond to him?
Will he be the same player? Will it affect his teammates and the dressing room?
All are legitimate questions and with United in the Champions League quarter-finals, this is an odd time for Herrera to ‘agree’ an exit.
Who’s next in?
Part of us is still in stage one, denial. But if Herrera is leaving, eventually we will get to stage five. Who replaces him?
Herrera leaves a hole in United’s midfield. Paul Pogba is excellent but inconsistent, and Nemanja Matic is 30.
United will have to spend big to sign an all action midfielder and it will be exciting to see which route they go down.
As Fred’s mixed fortunes show, there are no guarantees. Two midfielders may be needed.
Will United hit back at PSG by landing Adrien Rabiot for free? Will money be invested in Tanguy Ndombele or Bruno Fernandes?
Herrera leaving would set United up for a prolific summer of spending.