The season is over, and the freedom to dive even deeper into the transfer market is everywhere. Manchester United are charging forward with their preparations for next season, looking first at Everton and the prizes they hold. As of now, it seems like they won’t be able to land Leighton Baines despite the long time interest, but might make the most of the situation with Marouane Fellaini, who has a release clause in his contract.
Considering he cost Everton £15 million in 2008, it’s quite ridiculous that his release clause is only £23 million. But that is where it stands – Everton, a team who hardly spend big and forced David Moyes to make do with mostly mediocre signings, botched up the contract of the one time they really went all out and brought someone for a huge sum of money. That someone has been linked with a departure, usually with Chelsea, all season long.
The Belgian midfielder had a fantastic season for Everton, moving forward from his holding role in the middle of the park to take a more active part of the team’s attack. He scored 11 goals (12 in all competitions), the only scorer in double figures for the team, also adding 5 assists. While Everton wouldn’t like him to depart, as they don’t want to see Leighton Baines make the short trip from Goodison Park to Old Trafford, they don’t have much of a choice.
David Moyes is one incentive, but European football, a chance for glory and simply playing for a bigger club should be enough to make Fellaini make it an easy decision for him. While some would say £23 million is a bit expensive for him, those are the prices in the Premier League for proven players in the league, especially if you’re a big club.
United’s weakest spot this season, when looking at their Champions League campaign, has been their midfield. Not just in its ability to contribute goals and on attacking sequences, but a general weakness in physicality and against teams that love to push with force and speed through the middle (think Tottenham). Fellaini will help take care or at least improve these areas, not to mention a major addition to the aerial game.