Ander Herrera started for Manchester United against FC Basel on Wednesday, and Manchester United lost.

Whilst Jose Mourinho insists his team were akin to the Harlem Globetrotters in the first half, with the force-shield of luck preventing a 45-minute rout, it was a poor night for the Premier League club.

Herrera has a lot of backers, those who insisted he’s as good as N’Golo Kante and used statistics to elevate him to Manchester United captain material, and blamed everything negative on Louis van Gaal, aren’t going to let him drown so easily.

But it’s not just Manchester United fans, or some of them, who see something special in the Spaniard, so does Pitu Abril, who in a column for Mundo Deportivo has backed the idea of Barcelona signing Herrera.

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Put to one side that Herrera’s contract doesn’t actually end in June, as long as Manchester United don’t want it to, and Abril makes an enthusiastic case for a squad player swoop.

Take it away Pitu: ‘He could be the ‘cover’ for the coming season. I mean Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, a footballer who, saving all the distances, has always reminded me of Xavi Hernández.

‘It seems that this past summer he was already on the list of Valverde, who had him at Athletic. In addition to Valverde, Ander has had the best coaches, such as Bielsa, Van Gaal or Mourinho. At 28 years old (29 in the summer), he’s in a splendid moment of football maturity to make the jump to Barça.’

There’s a lot of competition to be Ander Herrera’s biggest fan, Sport Witness know this only too well from social media experience, but Pitu may have just edged himself to the top of the list.