Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas. Two sagas, no signing. Both Spanish midfielders were strongly linked with moves to Old Trafford but neither materialised in what has become a cyclical process for United fans to be linked with midfielders, only for nothing to actually happen.
After the dizzy heights of being linked with half of Barcelona’s midfield, focus has now turned towards David Moyes’ potential signing of Marouane Fellaini. The 25-year-old Belgian played under Moyes for four years and the Scot is reportedly getting ready to try and lure him away from Everton but instead of excitement, fans have looked at Fellaini’s signing with trepidation.
‘Is he really good enough for United’, many bemoan. ‘Is he really what United need’, they cry. When United visited Goodison Park last year, Fellaini tore us a new one and scored the only goal in a 1-0 opening game defeat. In the return fixture, Sir Alex Ferguson deployed Phil Jones and his excellent man marking performance took Fellaini out of the game – United won. Two matches, two contrasting performances, surely that shows he isn’t up to scratch?
Not for me. Ferguson might have outsmarted him at Old Trafford but his bullish performance at Goodison showcased just how dominant a midfielder he can be on his day and over the course of the Premier League season, Fellaini was one of the most impressive in the league.
There is no reason why Fellaini could not become United’s version of Yaya Toure. Built like a tank with bundles of energy, Fellaini is a powerful all-round midfielder who can do his part defensively but is extremely effective going forward. He would bring that added bite and steel to a floppy midfield that has been the weak point of the team for the past few years.
In Michael Carrick, United already have a player fully capable of being our holding midfielder. He may not jump into the tackle but that is only because he is smart enough to intercept the ball first. Partnered with Fellaini, Carrick would be allowed to sit back and simply make the team flow, safe in the knowledge that Fellaini would bring the brawn.
Is United’s team stronger with Fellaini or without? The answer is simple. Fellaini may not be the marquee signing that fans yearned for but they are spoiled if they cannot see why Fellaini ticks so many boxes for United.
For a midfield that is so strikingly weak physically, to bring in a brute Belgian equipped with an added bouffant is exactly what it needs to beef it up. Fellaini can be the steroid injection we’ve craved for years.
Who are we to say we know more about Fellaini than the man who bought him from Belgium and coached him for four years? Moyes wouldn’t bring him to United if he wasn’t confident that he could make the step up. His first season is already littered with risk because of who he follows in Sir Alex. Every move he makes will be scrutinised. If he didn’t think Fellaini would be able to come to United and keep improving, he wouldn’t risk signing him.
A midfield partnership of Fellaini and Carrick would give United a physical presence we haven’t had since the good ole Roy Keane days. While Fellaini won’t ever be our new Keano, he has the capability of closing a hole in United that has held us back for so long.