David Moyes has turned his attention back to Marouane Fellaini after top midfield target Cesc Fabregas committed himself to Barcelona, and the new Manchester United boss will be confident that his former charge at Everton can improve the Red Devils’ problem position.
Fellaini would need no introductions to the Old Trafford faithful, as his match-winning header and tormenting of makeshift United centre-half Michael Carrick got the eventual champions off to the worst possible start in last season’s opening fixture.
Apart from Carrick – who had another impressively consistent campaign last term, starting more games than any other United player bar Robin Van Persie and chipping in with four league assists – the midfield has been a bit of a muddle recently, with Anderson contributing little from his limited outings and Tom Cleverley unconvincing as an attacking option with just two goals in 18 league appearances.
Paul Scholes – whose eight appearances amounted to seven yellow cards and not much else – brought down the curtain on a spectacular career in May, while Ryan Giggs continues into his 24th season at the club, although he is expected to concentrate on coaching.
With eight yellow cards of his own last term, Fellaini does not lack physicality and would add aerial prowess to the centre of the park at Old Trafford, but it is his attacking play that could have them salivating in the Stretford End after a return of 11 goals and five assists in the league fired Everton into 6th place, ahead of city rivals and United foes Liverpool.
Considering the possible departure of Wayne Rooney – who performed manfully when called upon to play in a deep or wide role last season – and expectations that Shinji Kagawa will play in a more advanced position this year, the capture of Fellaini will be Moyes’ top priority as United look to kick-off the post-Ferguson era by retaining their title at odds of 11/5.