In the wee hours of the deadline day arrived a player from Merseyside for 27.5 million and questions were raised then and there as to why Manchester United knocked on his doors repeatedly and finally landed him in. It was in the managerial time of David Moyes when Manchester United signed Marouane Fellaini from rivals Everton and the news reverberated around England. The season that followed saw Fellaini begin matches for United time and again but none of it looked convincing and he emerged as a scapegoat being targeted repeatedly and his selection was baffling to many.
Moyes was sacked for several reasons and the first season ended with Ryan Giggs being the interim boss. The following summer things were quick to change and Louis Van Gaal took the helm at United vowing to be more successful than his predecessor ever was and with him he brought a history which was known. Louis wasn’t new to experimentations and wasn’t a cowering manager either. Bold and brash he was known for what he did, changing Bastian Schweinsteiger from a wide player into a central midfield, working with Van Bommel and also at his time at United, allowing Phil Jones to take the corners. At a time where Fellaini’s departure looked imminent, he developed into an integral player with United and two seasons with Louis Van Gaal saw Fellaini retaining his place as a first-team player. Fellaini won the FA Cup with Manchester United and that was the very last time when the Dutch manager managed United and he was relieved off his duties within the week.
The arrival of Jose Mourinho raised questions again as to who looks like the most favourite to depart and Fellaini, of course, was the first name that would come to any of the fans but soon enough Mourinho made it very evident that one phone call was enough to motivate Fellaini to say and the weeks once again saw the Belgian establishing himself as a player who wouldn’t look like sitting out of this United team. For a man like Fellaini who tries to give his best every time he plays in a United jersey where his emotions display how clearly he wants to deliver, what do the United fans or football fans generally do not see that three managers at United have noticed and let Fellaini play? What does Fellaini offer for Manchester United?
The lanky, muscularly solid man that he looks like, Fellaini does bring a lot of competitiveness in the role that he plays in. One of the first things Fellaini did was to get composed under Mourinho and become more clinical and accurate in his challenges and from an average duels win accuracy of 46% last year, Fellaini has improved it by over 8% this year. Another major thing is that he has restrained himself from committing ridiculous fouls that earn him a yellow card and hence, like a silent predator moving around in the midfield, despite being made the scapegoat, what many fans don’t see is that the Belgian has delivered this season whenever the manager has put his faith in him.
Secondly, the clear demonstration of power, outmuscling others in the duels and also breaking up of play has been witnessed and that was exactly what Mourinho wanted. The game against Southampton for United was crucial and Fellaini in the midfield was responsible for being a platform to start every attack because he broke up the play, retrieved the ball and passed it along.
The reigns of Moyes and Louis Van Gaal saw United use Fellaini as another dimension to the attack. He becomes an instant target man to chest down the ball and play it along and even during the corners or for the crosses, his tallness is a vital positive and attraction and a strong header to the ball many times is a goal.
Thirdly, Fellaini is a major distraction as well. He lures players because of his physical might and frees up the team in other parts which is another good positive. Along with it, one added bonus is that the Belgian has worked on his passing as well. His average passing accuracy hasn’t dipped below 85% in three years at United and especially this year it’s reached a high of 89%.
For all scapegoat that Fellaini’s been made as, statistics, as well as displays on the pitch, prove that the lad gets his job done. One biggest quality I admire is his hard work and fighting spirit and that surely must have reached the managers as well because three different managers, three huge years at United, the player still retains his place in the squad and is an integral part of it. This is what Fellaini offers to United and will keep offering. The Belgian isn’t done yet!