The 2013 summer hasn’t been the most successful for Manchester United in terms of improving the club, at least in what the moves appear to present. No quality midfielder has arrived, which leaves them with their next option, which wasn’t a huge favorite of theirs to begin with: Marouane Fellaini of Everton.
David Moyes should know Fellaini better than anyone, and yet it doesn’t seem that he has been pressing to bring over his former player from Goodison Park. It seemed like he was much more concerned with bringing over Leighton Baines, although that move hasn’t been successful as well. In general, it doesn’t look like Everton want to do business with their former manager and help him ease in into his new job.
But with Thiago Alcantara rejecting United and choosing Bayern Munich instead; with Cesc Fabregas not applying himself hard enough to make himself unwanted in Barcelona, probably because he does prefer staying at the Nou Camp to playing for United at the moment, options are running thin.
One of the questions that United and Moyes are asking themselves is what’s their main goal: Retaining the league title in another less than impressive season in terms of quality and aesthetics, while suffering from another early exit in the Champions League, or bringing over a player that they know, in the long run, will improve the club and its chances in Europe.
Fellaini, for one, is thought of as a local-only kind of player. He has done well for Everton in the league, including last season when he played in a much more advanced role, scoring 11 league goals, but he doesn’t seem like the player that brings United closer to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, who knocked them out of the competition last season.
United don’t need an attacking midfielder – they have Shinji Kagawa as the man who’ll play behind Robin van Persie, and until the Wayne Rooney issue is resolved, he is to be considered a United player and in their plans for that position or something similar. United need a defensive, holding, central midfielder, call it what you want. Fellaini can do that job, but not as well as United probably would like him to.
And then there’s the price, which is over £25 million. Transfers between Premier League clubs are exaggeratedly expensive, and with Manchester United making the offers teams are likely to raise demands, and yet Fellaini doesn’t seem to be worth that much trouble, especially for a club that doesn’t spend freely as some of its other rivals in the upcoming title race.
There are other players around Europe that can fill United’s needs. Either the press hasn’t worked out what United are trying to do or simply they actually haven’t been approaching anyone except the limited cadre of midfielders that don’t look too likely to be arriving. If Moyes’ first test in his job was upgrading the team and filling in at least one of the holes left from last season’s lineup, than there’s no doubt that for now, he hasn’t been very successful in passing it.