Manchester United’s dual bid for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini was hardly a surprise. Equally, Everton’s refusal of the bid was not of the stunning order either. Rumour has it that United may well be back with an increased offer for the Belgian midfielder, and if they do, it may be time for Everton to consider cutting a deal. It may seem a strange thing to say, but moving the midfielder on to Old Trafford could actually help Everton’s progress as a club.
There’s a reason why David Moyes has gone back to his old club for two ex-players. Nobody doubts the footballing pedigree of Baines, but Fellaini mat be more of an acquired taste, and one that Roberto Martinez is yet to savour. In early season games, the Spaniard has deployed the player in a more holding role. Whilst he is fully competent at this, it negates his ability to be the marauding, striker-supporting, player that Moyes cherished.
The problem for Everton is that in the Martinez game plan, there is not really room for such a role. This is a man who cherishes possession, celebrates passing the ball and working openings through probing and prompting, rather than the the physical and powerful elements that the Belgian can bring to a team. There is therefore a logic in taking a profit on the player and replacing him with someone more in tune with the game you wish to play. Now, it would be folly to accept a cheap bid that undervalues Fellaini. United are currently offering a figure that is less than the Toffees paid to secure Fellaini’s services initially. If it was raised to in excess of £20million however, that could be the trigger to deal. The Belgian is clearly a fans’ favourite at Goodison Park, and re-investing any money from selling him would need to be done astutely to avoid a supporter backlash. Over at Old Trafford, buying the Belgian could have a similar effect however.
The United faithful will have an idea of how their club should play. Schooled in the approach of Sir Alex Ferguson’s ultra-successful tenure, there will be trepidation about David Moyes rebuilding the squad in Everton’s shape. Adding Fellaini may just compound such fears. Such being the case it will be just as important for Moyes to manage the purchase well, as it will for Martinez to do the same with the sale.
With only days left before the window snaps shut, any deal will need to be advanced with all due expediency. Don’t be surprised however if it goes through, with both managers happy, but both sets of fans, a little less so.