Connect in the back of the net

The Belgian midfielder has caused controversy ever since his move from Everton in 2013.

But does he deserve to keep his place in the Manchester United squad next season?

Every game that features the former Standard Liege man seems to bring about entertainment, whether it be his flying elbows, poorly timed tackles or occasional bullet headers.

Fellaini has been subject to both boo’s and sarcastic cheers from the Old Trafford crowd and quite rightly so, the 29 year-old has had some poor moments, the clumsy penalty-resulting challenge vs Everton being his worst.

Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger are two players that have felt the wrath of José Mourinho’s selling spree as he looks to shape his squad for league dominance.

Two players seen by most as better fits for Manchester United’s philosophy than the 6ft 4in midfielder that is Fellaini and yet not by Mourinho, so the Portuguese boss must have faith in the former Everton player?

 

The situation

Fellaini’s current contract runs until the summer of 2018 having signed a one-year extension is January of this year, a confusion to many.

It could well be the case that Manchester United didn’t want him to leave on a free this summer and therefore triggered the one-year extension in order to recuperate some of the £27.5m paid for him.

On the other hand, Fellaini has survived two transfer windows under The Special One already, showing that Mourinho does have a certain level of belief in the Belgian’s ability.

 

Why should he stay?

Many feel that this season has been Fellaini’s best in a Manchester United shirt out of the three he’s spent in Manchester but unfortunately his two seasons previous seem to overshadow this one.

His defensive side has improved greatly under Mourinho, having been deployed predominantly in a central defensive midfielder role rather than a more advanced role in which he was utilised by his former boss, Louis van Gaal.

According to Squawka, Fellaini has averaged 2.22 tackles per game in the Premier League more than Matic, Dier and Fernandinho showing that he may have something to offer to Manchester United.

Plus, Fellaini does bring something different to this Man United side, providing them with another option.

Winning a huge 73.04% of his aerial duels (Squawka) it’s clear that he’s a menace when the other United players can get a ball into the box with all three of his goals this season being headers, the most recent vs Middlesbrough.

The midfielder does allow another style of football to be played, that style being known as ‘Fellaini ball’.

 

Why should he be sold?

It’s easy to see that Fellaini’s best position is further forward as he can use his height and heading ability to trouble opposition central defenders.

The problem with this is that Manchester United have always opted for creative, technical players over brawn when it comes to the offensive positions and this is something that I doubt they’ll change, especially not to just cater for Fellaini.

Despite Fellaini’s defensive improvements his discipline can be seen as his weak link, Fellaini has received eight yellow cards (Dier has six, Matic and Fernandinho have four).

One statistic that Fellaini beats his competitors in is the number of players his flying elbows hit, another downside to his game.

Although ‘Fellaini ball’ can be looked at as a positive, the long ball style of play is laughed at by rival fans and that in itself is enough to place the Belgian on the transfer list.

Lastly, it’s quite evident that the Manchester United fans have not been impressed by Fellaini’s performances this season, which surely has to be listened to by the boss, eventually.

 

Verdict

In my opinion, come September 2017 Fellaini will not be a Manchester player.

Mourinho is not a manager that wastes any time when it comes to selling players and although José clearly has a soft spot for Fellaini, this season has shown he’s not a ‘Man United player’ despite some better performances in comparison to previous seasons.

When it comes to both quality and style, Fellaini hasn’t really reached the level required to deservedly play for Manchester United and that’s why I feel this season will be his last for the Red Devils.

 

Written by Lewis Atkin

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