Unfortunately for him Marouane Fellaini seems terminally entwined with David Moyes. The Belgian’s poor form last season, not helped by injuries, made him a symbol of the doomed Moyes era at Manchester United.
It seemed for all the world that he would move in the summer – perhaps he would have gone to Napoli had he not got injured preseason. But you have to credit Fellaini with great spirit for fighting his way back into Manchester United’s plans. Fellaini, who has made 11 appearances already this season reckons that the boss has confidence in him:
“Some of the newspapers said that Van Gaal didn’t want me, but I knew the truth,” Fellaini told the Times.
“When he spoke to me he told me that he wanted me to show him that I could play. That was it. After that, I showed myself in training and then I started to play.”
Fellaini has added beef to a Manchester United team which had been rather easy to play through at times last season. He seems to come into his own in the last 20 minutes of games with some crucial interceptions.
But his good form hasn’t successfully masked his technical deficiencies. He’s painfully clumsy at times and gives the ball away too often. We don’t think that Van Gaal would have signed Fellaini – especially not for £27.5m – and we don’t believe that he is in the long term plans of the Manchester United manager right now. At this point Fellaini could be described as a necessary evil, helping Manchester United grind out results in a rather ugly fashion, until the teams settles down into a more technically alluring and spectacular style.
Manchester United have always appreciated the importance of graft to go with the craft. But even United’s harder players down the years have usually had good technique – Bruce, Ince, Stam and Hughes immediately come to mind. Fellaini will have to improve his if he wants to be at Manchester United when he’s 30.
Manchester United fans: Is Fellaini worthy of his place long-term?