Manchester United completed the £27.5m signing of 25 year-old Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini from Everton late on transfer deadline day. United also tried to sign Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrão on loan, but it was confirmed on Tuesday that the deal fell through. Fellaini joined Everton from Standard Liege for £15m in 2008 and was contracted to the Toffees until 2016, but his move to the Red Devils had been confirmed three hours after the transfer window closed on Monday.
United have been crying out for reinforcements in midfield for years. Sir Alex Ferguson tried to fill the gap in United’s midfield on several occasions, but failed regularly. Signings like Anderson, Veron, and Djemba-Djemba never broke through to become top midfielders at United. When David Moyes took on the role as United manager last spring, he had clear intentions of where he thought it was right to improve the squad. He spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson regarding the squad and where it should be improved.
In the end, left-back and midfield we’re where the two agreed were important to improve. This was shown over the summer with various bids for midfielders and full-backs such as Baines, Coentrão, Herrera, Fabregas, and of course Fellaini. United couldn’t seem to get that marquee signing they were looking for, and many blame United’s chief-executive Ed Woodward for dealing with the business incorrectly. Woodward is receiving much criticism from United fans, as they are frustrated with the lack of signings and failure to build on their squad after being crowned Premier League Champions in the 2013-14 season.
However, United did manage to bring in a midfielder this summer, and although it was late, they did end up signing Marouane Fellaini, much to the relief of United fans. He’s not the greatest signing they’ve ever made, but is certainly not the worst. Fellaini has proved himself at Everton in the past and certainly knows how to work with David Moyes after working under Moyes at The Toffees for 5 years. Upon Fellaini’s signing, manager David Moyes said:
“He is a player with great ability and strength and I think he will make a real difference to our squad. He can play higher up, if we need it, behind the striker or as a defensive or holding midfielder. In any position in the middle of the field he’s comfortable.”
Standing at 6′ 4″ tall, Marouane Fellaini is certainly no pushover. He’s renowned for his physical presence and his ability in the air. Fellaini will certainly bring something different to United, something they haven’t had since Roy Keane: a midfielder that is willing to get stuck in and has no fear. Fellaini will almost certainly bring goals too, something that the Red Devils are always short of from their midfield.
Paul Scholes used to add a lot of goals from midfield back when he was in his prime, however in recent years, United have lacked goals from their midfield department. Goals from midfield is somewhere that United miss out; you look at Chelsea, with Lampard regularly scoring 20+ goals a season, while Gerrard regularly scores 10-15+ goals a season at Liverpool. Fellaini scored 12 goals for Everton in the Premier League last season at an average Everton side. You would think with more world-class players at United, Fellaini would get more opportunities, leading to more goals. Fellaini himself was was excited about the transfer:
“I am thrilled to sign for Manchester United. I have known the manager for many years now and I have a lot of respect for his way of working. When I was given the opportunity to work with him again, I jumped at the chance.”
Some would call the purchase of Fellaini a ‘panic buy’; it’s not the marquee signing United fans were looking for but they should be satisfied with Fellaini. He will bring goals, physical presence, and certainly a fear from the opposition. As a United fan, I would pick Fellaini over Cleverley every week. Cleverley has been disappointing recently; he got bossed out of the Liverpool game and played many sloppy passes. There’s no doubt Cleverley has the potential to be a good player, but at the moment, a better option would be Carrick and Fellaini in the middle of the park for United, a partnership that could blossom and give United the extra sturdiness that they need in the midfield.
Written by Tom Skelton