Marouane Fellaini’s recent admission may upset Everton supporters, but is likely to be understood. The lofty Belgian wishes to finish his Everton career this season. Once described as an ‘untouchable’ – not for sale at any price – by Bill Kenwright, the thought of losing Fellaini will dishearten David Moyes.
Undoubtedly, the manager is determined to keep the stars, but also graciously acknowledges a player’s aspiration to shoot for them (e.g. Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar). Pienaar, to the Toffees’ delight, has returned permanently, but the South African is set to be the only survivor of Everton’s wonderful midfield quadruplet, which also featured Tim Cahill, by season’s end. Arguably, if materialised, Fellaini’s departure will cut deepest.
Signed for £15million from Standard Liège, Everton’s present transfer record, Fellaini displayed immediate versatility and physicality. Competent as a secondary striker and influential as a defensive midfielder, the youngster deservedly earned Everton’s 2008-09 Young Player of the Season accolade. However, Fellaini was rather clumsy, earning daft yellow cards as if they were collectibles. Nevertheless, Fellaini quickly became a fan favourite, partly because of the excessive hairstyle. More significantly, David Moyes appeared to pull yet another ace from the transfer market.
Indeed, Fellaini became an integral cog to the Everton machine. Deeply positioned, he enabled the likes of Cahill, Pienaar and Arteta to venture, which paid great, and essential, dividends. For instance, the realisation of striker depletion was often clouded by Cahill’s goal return. Moreover, Fellaini aided the defence with sheer strength and hustle.
Nowadays, Fellaini is, debatably, of greater importance. Increasingly tidy with the ball, the Belgian’s blossoming technique was demonstrated masterfully against Manchester United during the opening fixture of the current campaign. With a goal to add, Fellaini was head-and-shoulders above the other twenty-one players on the pitch. Consequently, discussion exploded over Fellaini’s potential to play for a bigger team.
David Moyes shares confidence in Fellaini’s ability to reach the dizzy heights of an elite club. However, the central midfielder’s actual desire to seek greener pastures will be displeasing. Unquestionably, bigger clubs have been alerted, but Moyes won’t accept any old offer, especially since Fellaini signed a new contract last year. A hard bargain will be driven for the hard man.