At Everton he was a hero, at Manchester United he has fallen way below zero. Marouane Fellaini is one of the Premier League’s more colourful characters, but he couldn’t manage to influence proceedings too heavily last season, as he was forced to watch most of the action from inside the Manchester United dug-out. The player was given opportunities at Old Trafford, but he just couldn’t take them.
In the same way as one poor season does not make David Moyes a bad manager, though, one poor campaign does not make Fellaini a bad player. As reports begin to circulate that he is headed for the United exit door, the Belgian will be hoping to regain the form he had shown at Everton whilst playing for another club. The following are the teams who should think about signing him:
1) Newcastle United
Times have been hard at Newcastle in recent seasons, and Alan Pardew will be looking to rebuild his squad again this summer. Fellaini could be a good addition, if the price is right. In the past, the Magpies have tried to lace their side with creative energy, wingers, tricksters and rapid runners. However, in order to clamber up the Premier League, there might be a call to up the strength and intensity instead.
Fellaini will certainly do that, and he is likely to frustrate opponents as well. Too often last season a trip to Saint James’ was an easy ride for opposition teams. Comfortable victories against Pardew’s men became an uncomfortable reality for the fans. With Fellaini in the side, Newcastle might possess a little more bite.
2) Aston Villa
The Belgian’s strength and muscle could be a valuable feature at Villa as well. The predominantly young side work extremely hard for Paul Lambert, but they do not grind out enough points to be challenging higher up the table.
Fellaini’s presence will disturb the midfield, and provide the attackers with an anchor point. Holding up the ball is something that Fellaini does well, and for as long as he has a spritely, enthusiastic midfield operating around him, then chances are sure to fall Villa’s way.
3) Crystal Palace
A link up with Tony Pulis could be a very good thing for Fellaini. The former Stoke manager has instilled within his Palace side the value of the fight, and he will be looking for more players to increase the Eagles’ physicality.
That is not to say that Palace rely on one-dimensional strength, because they are also capable of producing some very exciting football. Fellaini can be an effective attacker as well (at least he was for Everton!), and his aerial threat will provide another avenue down which Palace will hope to find the back of the net.
4) Any of the promoted teams
Leicester City, Burnley and QPR are all going to need three things heading into next season; creative ability, strength, and Premier League experience. Fellaini can provide at least 2 of those requirements. The player has muscle and aggression in his game, but he also has bags of top flight know-how.
He has played in Everton teams that have over-performed and a United team that has underperformed. He has enjoyed fine runs of form and very poor periods. He has been praised by the English press and laughed at by it. Fellaini’s skin is probably thicker than the average footballer’s, and that will help the newly promoted teams during the challenge that lies ahead.
What remains to be seen is the asking price that United could issue for Fellaini, if they decide to sell. The Red Devils paid £27 million for the Belgian just 12 months ago, so no doubt there will be an attempt to regain a significant portion of that.
His impressive performances in the World Cup so far will further justify a higher price-tag, so it looks likely that Fellaini will represent a big gamble for one club. But risks do bring rewards, and Fellaini might bring good fortune.