Marouane Fellaini’s deadline day move to Manchester United was the champion’s standout bit of transfer business during the summer window. It was a summer plagued by near misses and undue disappointment for the Premier League club whose capture of the Belgian midfielder came as something of a relief in the end.
As of now it has been a season to forget for United, lacklustre displays have dogged the new era at the club and David Moyes will be as keen as anyone to ensure that Fellaini along with his teammates can galvanise the United revival.
It is easy to forget though how much of a saga the Fellaini deal actually was, at a point United were able to purchase the midfielder for around £5m less than they eventually did owing to a release clause in his contract. United were never that decisive, a characteristic that shaped their summer as a whole, so when Fellaini did eventually move it was to the undoubted disappointment of a number of other top clubs.
Indeed Fellaini himself has spoken of a particular interest from Arsenal, a club always notoriously keen to bolster their midfield options. The Belgian has had the following to say after the dust has begun to settle on his summer move:
“I don’t want to tell you everything what happened during the transfer,” he said to beIN Sport. “This was done at the last minute.”
“In a transfer window, there is always a list of players, you never know if it’s true or not. But for me, I knew [Moyes] was interested in me.”
“Chelsea? No comment. Arsenal? It’s true, they were interested, but Manchester United convinced me to sign for them.”
It seems a reunion with David Moyes was not something to be passed up, but did the Belgian really make the right decision?
Arsenal are flying high in the league, and whilst it may be a little lazy and short-sighted to say he made the wrong move based on league standing, there is a clear gulf emerging between the two sides. Arsenal are playing some mesmerising football, even by their own high standards, whereas United are a side grappling for any semblance of the form that made them such a footballing power.
We all know players are often driven by trophies and considering the histories of both clubs it is difficult at this stage to say whether he has made the right choice on these lines. Arsenal’s trophy drought is well documented, and regardless of how they play there is always that nagging question as to whether culture of success is really there? Contrast this to a United side who know how to win things even when they may not be playing at their very best. The jury for me is out on this one until May.
For his pure footballing development though I think Fellaini made exactly the right move. In David Moyes he has a manager he knows and trusts, at a club where there is a genuine desire to build the midfield around him. Arsenal may well be readymade for him in terms of style and form but personally perseverance with the Moyes’ project may well pay dividends.
This collapse in form won’t last forever, and if United can revive their fortunes I can see someone like Fellaini being the one to lead the charge. At his age with his international aspirations he needs to be at a big club playing week in week out. Both the clubs mentioned are juggernauts, but can you honestly say Fellaini would get into that Arsenal midfield regularly.
Flamini is looking every bit the midfield enforcer that they needed, and the revival in form of Ramsey amongst other leaves the competition for midfield places incredibly fierce.
This isn’t to say Fellaini made the right move though lack of ambition, more so with a degree of prudence and forward thinking. I don’t think you ever move to a club with the stature of a Manchester United by resting on your laurels.
Hindsight may be a wonderful thing, but in my view the jury is still out on the immediate successes of both United and Arsenal. Regardless of this, Fellaini if he has the degree of patience necessary may well be onto a winner at United. The focal point of their midfield, at one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, the future is a lot brighter for the Belgian than a lot may think.
Did Fellaini make the right move?