United open talks with Everton over Fellaini

United open talks with Everton over Fellaini
Eveton's Marouane Fellaini (centre). GETTY IMAGES
Fears that top target Cesc Fabregas could prove out of reach could lead to signing of Everton midfielder
Published: 8:44 PM, August 7, 2013
Updated: 3:30 PM, August 8, 2013

MANCHESTER — Manchester United have opened negotiations with Everton over a deal for Marouane Fellaini, as David Moyes fears that his top midfield target, Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona, could prove out of reach.

Moyes, who has so far added only the young Uruguayan full-back Guillermo Varela to his squad before his debut season at Old Trafford, worked with Fellaini at Everton, having signed him for £15 million (S$29.2 million) from Standard Liege in 2008.

Fellaini is understood to have offers from elsewhere in the Premier League but the 25-year-old would relish the opportunity to join United and continue his working relationship with Moyes. United are in pole position for his signature and they are aware of the £23.5 million buy-out clause in his contract, which expires on Aug 15. Thereafter, Fellaini’s price would be at the mercy of the market.

United’s need for reinforcement in midfield has been intensified by Paul Scholes’s retirement at the end of last season and Moyes has pushed to take Fabregas, the former Arsenal captain, seeing two bids turned down by Barcelona. Moyes has also been linked with a move for Luka Modric of Real Madrid although that, too, has been fraught with complications.

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has said for the past three weeks that his information was that Fabregas would stay at Camp Nou for at least another season. Despite the acrimony of Fabregas’s departure from Arsenal, Wenger has retained a good relationship with him while the player’s agent is the son of David Dein, Wenger’s closest contact in the game. In this summer of the contractual transfer clause, Arsenal have one that effectively entitles them to first refusal on Fabregas. Wenger’s information would appear to be well-sourced.

Fellaini is a different type of midfielder, with reservations over his passing ability and disciplinary record. But he has skill, tremendous presence and threat, as evidenced by his 12 goals for Everton last season. THE GUARDIAN