With only ten days to go before the transfer shuts on September 2 there might, at long last, be some positive news for Manchester United and for those who consider Marouane Fellaini to the cure to the club’s terminally ill midfield.
This week United had a £16m offer for the Belgian rejected by Everton, who deemed the bid “derisory and insulting” as they value the Belgian at more than £23m, a price-tag David Moyes and Ed Woodward seem to consider too hefty for the 25-year-old midfielder, hence their decision to let Fellaini’s release clause expire.
United, however, have seemingly succeeded in unsettling the Everton midfielder, who is reportedly keen to leave Goodison Park this summer rather than in 12 months time, as he feels that a successful World Cup could drive his price up even further, thus making it harder for him to move to a big club.
Quite why a player would be worried by his own success it’s hard to fathom and even the Daily Mail, the paper that reported the story, fails to shed any light on the situation, particularly as it claims that Fellaini has no intention of burning bridges with Everton boss Roberto Martinez and will not go to the extent of submitting a formal transfer request.
After five years at Everton, however, Fellaini would be understandably tempted by the opportunity of playing Champions League football and competing for the title and while Everton are adamant they won’t sell the Belgian, they’ve already drawn up a contingency plan in the shape of Wigan’s James McCarthy.
United are expected to submit an higher offer between now and September 2 but it remains to be seen whether Everton would be keen to do business with their former manager, after what Mike Phelan described as a “cheeky” first bid.
“I think that was a cheeky bid. It was never going to get off the ground. What they have done is opened the line into Everton,” the former assistant manager told BBC Radio Manchester, before hinting that Ed Woodward’s inexperience might have hampered United’s progress this summer.
“Ed Woodward has previously been on the commercial side and concentrating on bringing money into the club rather than spending it. It is a totally different outlook. He will learn that.
“He may be frightened by a few prices but he will have to pick that up, because you are dealing with high-quality football players.
“He and the club have gone on record to say that money is available. That’s great, but then every price goes up a peg or two as well.”
Everton boss Roberto Martinez, however, has failed to see the funny side of United’s bid and as blasted the club.
“I have never seen Manchester United working in this manner before,” Martinez told the Guardian. “When you want a player you just do the business quietly, you get it done and that’s it. I don’t know if this is a new way of working at United. I don’t expect a new bid. In fact, it wasn’t even a bid because it never reached any sort of valuation of the players.
“There isn’t an offer on the table where anyone would consider anything. If they’d matched the valuation maybe then you would listen to it but that hasn’t been the situation.”
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