In a summer transfer window which saw Manchester United miss out on various transfer targets, the signing of Marouane Fellaini represented Ed Woodward’s last ditch attempt to make a signing before the 2013/14 season got started. At the time United fans couldn’t see any merit in the acquisition of the Belgian for £27.5 million, when he could have been signed for a fraction of that fee had the club acted sooner.
Fellaini’s first season as a Manchester United player was blighted by injury, he suffered six in total, including a problem with his wrist which had to be operated on in December 2013. Manchester United finished seventh and inevitably David Moyes was sacked in April, just four matches from the end of the campaign. Fellaini had endured a torrid season, he had suffered from poor form, a lack of confidence and from being played out of position.
Under Louis van Gaal Fellaini has ‘rightly’ got the opportunity to make amends, and boy has he has taken his chances.
In the earlier part of the season the Belgian had little or no part to play for LVG’s side, but a half-time substitution against West Brom in October changed his United career and prompted his manager to opt for more physicality in his side going forwards. Fellaini scored just minutes after coming on and has become one of the most important members of United’s squad ever since. Against Preston, Fellaini received the man of the match award and scored his fourth goal of the season. After trailing 1-0 at Deep Dale his goal was crucial in taking United into the next round, when an upset could have been on the cards.
United fans are starting to see that the man with an afro offers a lot more than they may of anticipated last year. A huge amount of credit has to go to the player for not throwing in the towel and for working incredibly hard over the summer. But some credit must be given to LVG who has had the faith to deploy Fellaini in a number of different roles this season and had given the outsider a fresh start at Old Trafford.
Speaking in his post match interview after the win at Preston and reported exclusively on the Sky Sports website LVG said;
“Marouane Fellaini has a body, he also scores goals. I played him in the position that he wants for the first time but I do not always have a position for him. The spirit was better.
“We showed an unbelievable team spirit. We changed the shape and that was the solution. We scored fantastic goals … I liked the second goal a lot, we have trained that a lot.”