David Moyes has explained why he brought Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United back in 2013, noting that the Belgian offered something different at Old Trafford.
The Scotsman, after failing to sign the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Thiago, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos in his first – and last – summer as Man United manager, signed midfielder on deadline day for a fee of £27.5m.
And despite playing under the same manager that oversaw his impressive Everton career, Fellaini looked woefully out of sorts at United and only managed his first goal under Louis van Gaal in October 2014 – one year and one month after being signed.
Speaking earlier this week, Moyes was full of praise for the way Fellaini has sustained his place in the United set-up over the last three years.
“He’s got brilliant chest control, taking it down with his chest, he’s as good as anyone in the world actually and he’s a good footballer, but he was never somebody who was going to come and play every single game.
“As you rightly said, if you look at the games that he played under Louis van Gaal and now under Jose Mourinho, he’s vital.
“He’s a modern day footballer, he covers a lot of ground, he’s a decent passer without being a great passer, he can get you some goals, he helps you out in both boxes with his stature and he was something which we didn’t have at Manchester United and he was a player who was brought in to add to the squad.”
One mystery from the Moyes era that will never be fully answered is how the Scot completely failed to use Fellaini in any effective sense whatsoever during his nine months in charge.
You would think that, out of anyone, Moyes could have understood how to deploy the 29-year-old correctly, but no: it was like going into an exam with your lucky pen and using the wrong end to write with.
Thankfully, his successors have managed to extract the unique dynamic promised by Fellaini on several occasions. Jose Mourinho demonstrated against Real Madrid on Tuesday that the midfielder can be a crucial asset this season whilst Moyes, jobless and with his plastic Community Shield lying next to him on the sofa, looks on in despair.