Manchester United are planning to bid just £18m for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, but with the Toffees under no pressure to sell this summer, David Moyes’ frustration in the transfer market looks set to continue.
A buy-out clause of £24m in the Belgian international’s contract expired at the end of last month and although new Goodison Park boss Roberto Martinez expressed his relief that the deadline had elapsed, United – who are now 12/5 to win the league, after their 4-1 first-day win at Swansea City – see an opportunity to get their man on the cheap.
Considering Moyes paid £15m for the player when boss at Everton and given the consistency Fellaini has shown in the five years since his move from Anderlecht – both as a combative ball-winner in midfield and in the more attacking roll he adapted to so well last season, with 11 goals in 31 league games – the Old Trafford club’s reasoning is hard to fathom.
With newly-rich clubs – such as Monaco and Manchester City – paying massively inflated fees for players over the summer, Everton are sure to hold out for at least the value of the buyout clause, with Arsenal also thought to be interested in Fellaini and under increasing pressure to strengthen their squad.
City paid a whopping £30m to Shakhtar Donetsk for the services of Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho – a player who is three years older than Fellaini, has never played in the Premier League and has practically the same league goals-per-game record as the Everton man, with 31 goals in 160 games for the Ukrainian champions, compared to Fellaini’s career haul of 25 in 130 matches.
United have also been linked with another Real Madrid midfielder, with Kaka joining Luka Modric and Mesut Ozil on the Old Trafford radar, but Moyes has made Fellaini his new priority in the Red Devils’ problem position and is determined to seal the transfer before the end of the month.