Fellaini contract extension signals more of the same at United under Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has begun his summer rebuild at the club after the Red Devils ended the campaign trophy-less and a huge 19 points behind Pep’s Manchester City. The gulf last season, on the whole, was huge and even the staunchest United supporter will tell you the team were nowhere near their fiercest rivals really.
Fast forward to the summer of 2018 and Mourinho is throwing more money at the team, with Brazil international Fred signed from Shakhtar Donetsk and a number of other top signings being mooted.
Another unlikely signing, partly because it seemed like he was leaving the club if reports were to be believed, is the renewal of Marouane Fellaini’s deal at the club – a player that has certainly divided the fanbase since David Moyes signed him during his short tenure in charge. The Belgian international has signed a new two-year contract after Mourinho reportedly begged the board to reconsider their position on the big man. But does Fellaini’s renewal indicate something deeper and potentially more worrying for the Red Devils moving forward under Mourinho?
United’s style under ‘The Special One’ has been under scrutiny since his arrival, with the Portuguese defensive mastermind using his tactical nous to build a team that is harder to beat, more compact, defensively sound and, ultimately, a side who tends to surrender possession in the hope that they can win it back and play on the break. At times last season it was painful to watch and there were rumours circulating that certain players weren’t buying into this approach.
Perhaps, after the endless scrutiny Jose Mourinho was under at times, a more free-flowing, fast paced and expansive United side – something Reds were used to seeing under Sir Alex Ferguson – was on the horizon. Fellaini’s extension – a player who epitomises Mourinho’s approach with his physical stature and rough style – indicates otherwise.
Manchester City won the title playing football Manchester United fans are, on the large, craving. It’s the way the game should be played in the modern world and it comes as no surprise to see Pep Guardiola being on the receiving end of endless plaudits for this approach. The modern game welcomes it, City fans and neutrals loved watching it and even the biggest City hating United fan will admit they respected it too – especially after the Citizens turned the Red Devils over so convincingly at Old Trafford.
Would Fellaini get into City’s team? Would he be welcomed at Liverpool, another team who play attacking, positive football? Would Fellaini get into other top sides around Europe? Let’s not forget he was linked with moves to Turkey mainly, but ends up signing a contract extension at one of the biggest clubs on the planet, being managed by a defensive guru. Sums up Mourinho really, doesn’t it?
Odds of 7/1 (bet365) on a Red Devils Premier League title win suggest another season behind City, who are priced at 4/7 to retain their crown, is on the cards.
Mourinho’s approach is arguably outdated and the re-signing of Fellaini signals another season in a similar mould. Positive, fast paced, attacking football is what Manchester United fans are familiar with. The fact Liverpool, who adopt this approach, are priced at 5/1 ahead of United suggests the experts, who know how to bet on football, are in agreement.
Another lifeless, dull season could be on the cards at Manchester United once again. Marouane Fellaini’s new deal suggests Mourinho won’t budge on his approach and with that, the Red Devils will continue to stagnate under him.