The Divine Afro has been linked with a move away from Everton for some time now and with Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all interested; where will be the next possible destination for Fellaini?
Fellaini: Would The Divine Afro Best Suit Manchester United, Chelsea or Manchester City?
Marouane Fellaini is arguably in the form of his life at the moment, having almost single handedly ripped Manchester United apart on the opening day of this season. Incessant speculation over his future continues having admitted he may leave Everton after their defeat to Norwich City earlier this year with United, Manchester City and Chelsea reportedly monitoring the Belgian’s situation at Goodison Park.
Fellaini signed for Everton in September 2008 from Belgian club Standard Leige for £12m and to this date remains the Toffees record signing. Standing at just over 6 ft 4 inches tall, the Belgian possesses a formidable aerial presence; one that consistently causes havoc amongst the best Premier League defences. Not only this, but his technical ability is almost flawless. Adored by the fans for his character and famous afro it would almost certainly break the Everton faithful’s hearts if he were to leave. So where might Fellaini be heading if he were to leave. Could it be one of the Manchester Clubs? Or would a trip down the M6 to Chelsea suit him better?
Manchester United could be a viable option for Fellaini, with both Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are in their Twilight years, Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking to strengthen within the midfield area. Although both Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley seem to be the Scot’s preferred partnership, they are not box to box midfielders, whereas Fellaini certainly is. Ferguson has generally favoured 4-4-2 as his predominate throughout his tenure at Old Trafford with one of the strikers deployed in a slightly deeper role to be the link between midfield and attack. At Everton this season, Moyes has deployed Fellaini as a second striker in behind Nikica Jelavic, which accounts for the high number of goals he has scored this season, as well as a high number, averaging around four on goal per game.
Could Fellaini compete for this position with Wayne Rooney, who himself has been linked with a move to Paris St. Germain? Or would a role as a bonafide central midfielder be more beneficial to the Manchester United collective unit? Bearing in mind Fellaini hasn’t played in that position for quite some time now. It’s an interesting conundrum which only Sir Alex knows the answer and having seen first hand what Fellaini is capable I wouldn’t be surprised if he is donning a United shirt next season.
However, Italian Roberto Mancini is certainly a fan of the Belgian’s talents. Although, ironically, the £20m-£30m price tag maybe too much for the super rich Manchester City, unless they are to offload a number of their prized assets as City executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain are spearheading the cost-cutting as the Eastland’s club in an attempt to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rules. From a tactical perspective, Mancini often adopts a 4-2-3-1 system. Currently City have a wealth of talent in the attacking areas with Silva, Tevez, Aguero, Dzeko and Nasri all vying for a starting spot and with Edinson Cavani heavily linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium, it would appear unlikely that Fellaini would adhere to the questionable rotation system adopted by Mancini of his forward players.
Centre-midfield would be the best bet for the young Belgian. Gareth Barry’s tenure at the Etihad Stadium seems to be coming to an abrupt end after a string of below par performances. However could Fellaini play alongside Yaya Toure as a two in central midfield? They are not exactly ying and yang as both like to push forward and join in on attacks, leaving the defence fairly vulnerable on the counter. Its a tough one to call as to whether Fellaini would join Manchester City, but with a club consistently challenging for major honours, and perhaps a club that could offer him more money in the back of his pocket at the end of each month, it could be a tempting proposition for young Marouane.
Many seasoned and well respected football journalist have hinted at the fact that Chelsea have targeted Fellaini as the long term replacement for Frank Lampard, who unbelievably looks likely to leave the club in the summer. Last season at Everton, when the Belgian was deployed in a deeper central-midfield position, he registered a tackle success rate of 85%, according to Opta, winning back possession of the ball once every 10 minutes. Although he has been used this season as a secondary striker, many still see his best position in the centre of midfield as these stats suggest.
Blues owner Roman Abramovich appears to be imitating the Barcelona ‘Tiki Taka’ type player in the advanced attacking areas with players such as the slight and skilful frames of Mata, Oscar and Hazard deployed in these positions. It seems likely that if Fellaini is to join Chelsea this summer, he will be replacing Lampard’s box to box midfield role meaning the Belgian could then sustain his increasing goal threat while re-establishing his capacity as a dominant central midfielder; a tactical masterplan that would almost certainly appeal to manager Rafael Benítez, if he is still in charge next season. If I was a betting man, I would certainly put good money on the probability that Fellaini will be at Stamford Bridge next season over the two Manchester sides.