- Associated Press - Thursday, June 26, 2014

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester United signed midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao on Thursday, the first recruit since Louis van Gaal took charge of the struggling club.

The 24-year-old Herrera will join on a four-year contract after he receives an international transfer certificate. United says it trigged a buyout clause in Herrera’s contract.

Herrera will be tasked with helping the 20-time English champions return to the Premier League’s top four to qualify for the Champions League after finishing in seventh place last month.

United’s dire form in the first season following Alex Ferguson’s retirement led to David Moyes being fired as manager. Van Gaal was hired last month, but won’t take charge until completing the World Cup with the Netherlands.

Ryan Giggs, who stayed on as a temporary stint in charge as assistant manager, said Herrera was signed for his “great energy and creativity.”

“We believe him to be one of the brightest young prospects in Spain,” Giggs said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him in action on our summer tour to America.”