David Moyes saw a £25million bid for the player turned down and United were understood to have been prepared to meet his 36million euros release clause.
A group purporting to represent United spent around an hour in La Liga headquarters in order to complete the paperwork that would have allowed the player to leave Bilbao.
But Sky Sports’ La Liga expert Guillem Balague has revealed they had nothing to do with United and that the proposed move is dead in the water.
Three people saying they were United officials had arrived at the Spanish league’s offices in Madrid to pay the buyout clause in full but it was claimed that these men were, in fact, hoaxers.
Agents close to the negotiations disputed this version of events on Monday night, but the transfer collapsed regardless – even though it was established United had an additional hour to conclude the deal providing a Deal Sheet with the signature of both clubs and the player was submitted to the Premier League.
United manager David Moyes insisted the negotiations failed because United were not prepared to pay Bilbao’s £30.5m price. He said: ‘I really like the player but we thought the buy-out was the wrong valuation.’
Bilbao president Jose Urrutia making it clear he would accept nothing less than £30.5m having rejected an initial bid last week.
Herrera had been keen to make the move since learning of United’s interest and it is believed that personal terms over a five-year deal worth £2.5m a year were agreed.
It left United having to rush through the transfers of Marouane Fellaini from Everton, signed for £27.5million, and Fabio Coentrao from Real Madrid.
It is also understood United tried to hijack Mesut Ozil’s £42m move from Real Madrid to Arsenal and made an unsuccessful £34m offer for Real’s Sami Khedira before enquiring about a third Madrid player, believed by Spanish sources to be Luka Modric.
-Football365.com and Daily Mail