Marouane Fellaini could be about to leave Manchester if he cannot agree to a new contract before January. The Red Devils are hoping they can keep other clubs at bay for the next month or so but if an agreement is not reached, he will be allowed to speak to other clubs.
The former Everton man arrived at Old Trafford for a big transfer fee in 2013 and was part of the David Moyes set up following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. Despite £27.5 million being spent on a man Moyes knew inside and out, he struggled in his first season at the Theatre of Dreams. It was under Louis van Gaal when he was trusted more and became a great option for the Dutchman while chasing a win.
However, under his current manager Jose Mourinho we have seen the best of the tough-tackling central midfielder who has really prospered under the tutelage of the Portuguese.
If the news that Fellaini was leaving on a free transfer had appeared in 2014, many Manchester United fans would have been incredibly happy as his style of play slowed their team down and made them look incredibly laboured compared to other free-flowing sides in the league like Tottenham or Liverpool. However, he is a great addition to the squad and more importantly the first team for Mourinho.
Questions were raised over his future in the summer transfer window of 2016 with many clubs courting the 6ft 4in midfielder but the new manager Mourinho stuck by his man to see how he progresses in his new side. He did the same in the 2017 window when a rumoured deal with Fenerbache was close to being agreed; he wanted to keep his player.
It was only after the window had closed that Fellaini rejected a contract offer because he wanted an increase in his already huge £120,000 per week salary. So if Manchester United are not willing to increase his wage other clubs outside of the Premier League might be willing to, and they can begin the negotiation process as early as January.
That scenario is something United will want to avoid as the side missed his physical presence against several teams this season in all competitions. He is a real handful for defenders when he challenges them for aerial battles and makes them feel uneasy. On the other hand, Fellaini has improved and managed to move away from the “lump it up to the big man” stereotype. Under Mourinho, he has looked a lot more composed and assured with the ball in the middle of the park; the addition of Nemanja Matic has helped him tenfold.
Chief executive Ed Woodward will be working hard to speak to Fellaini’s representatives so that he is able to strike a deal because he knows how much his manager rates him and if there is one thing we know about Jose Mourinho it is that he always wants to get his way. Who would have thought that United fans would have wanted to keep the former Standard Liège man after the Everton game away last season when he was booed by certain sections of the fans? Marouane Fellaini is like marmite; you either love him or hate him but United need him.