Given that Manchester United have spent a good chunk of this summer being linked with various midfield targets, it’s fair to suggest that a u-turn from Marouane Fellaini was neither expected or particularly welcome by the club’s fans. Reports have linked Jose Mourinho’s side with Marco Verratti, Mateo Kovacic, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Sami Khedira, all with various amounts of plausibility attached to each target, but after capturing Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred, these were all links to be excited by. Things have changed overnight, however.
Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur, a reliable source on the national team and its players tweeted the following last night: “Marouane Fellaini and Manchester United are close to an agreement over a new deal”, before following up with the suggestion that the former Everton midfielder will sign until 2020.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for the player, given that all signs had pointed towards Fellaini leaving Old Trafford when his contract expires at the end of June. After five years at the club, Fellaini has struggled to hold down a regular starting position, despite earning the trust of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, and frequently being given opportunities in big games. With reports of Arsenal and AC Milan enquiring as to his availability, it seemed as if the player was set to exit the club and attempt to find more first-team opportunities elsewhere, having suggested that United had simply left it too late with their last contract offer to retain his services.
If Fellaini does indeed sign a new deal, then it will be excellent news for Mourinho, who has frequently commented on his commitment, and appreciates his dedication to his plans. The club’s fans will likely be less happy, given that Fellaini has struggled to earn their trust, and with question marks over his ability, their frustration that United’s midfield might not get another needed injection of quality this summer aren’t unfounded.