With less than two weeks to the end of the transfer window and with Manchester United, or anyone else for that matter, yet to make a sensible bid for Marouane Fellaini, is it now too late for Everton to consider a sale of one of their prized assets?
Looking back at other last minute departures, all have resulted in an initial dip in form, which have taken months of adaptations before Everton have been competitive again. Joleon Lescott’s late and controversial transfer to Manchester City, left David Moyes with little time to bring in re-inforcements. Signings were made, including Johnny Heitinga and Sylvain Distin, but it took until the New Year before Everton found any sort of form and by that point the Blues hopes of European football were gone.
Mikel Arteta was another to depart, this time on deadline day itself, with a transfer completed to Arsenal for £10 million. The transfer vastly undervalued the Spaniard, who has gone on to Captain the Gunners and now leads their midfield in a third consecutive Champions League campaign. The deal was right for the former Barcelona man, Arteta played for Everton with honour and distinction and deserved the opportunity to utilise his vast talents in Europe’s premier competition. The Blues however were left drastically short in midfield and another season of optimism was left in tatters until Moyes was able to spend the money on Darron Gibson and Nikica Jelavic the following January.
So where does that leave Everton, Fellaini and Martinez?
If a deal is to be done, United should be forced to pay an inflated price. Everton do not need to sell and will be inconvenienced by a transfer so late in the day, the ball is firmly in United’s corner and they need to return with an offer that Bill Kenwright and the Board are unable to reject. The now expired release fee, should be seen as a minimum, although I am sure an offer in the region of £23 million would satisfy the Blues.
Up until now Marouane Fellaini has acted impeccably. We have not witnessed the tantrums and mystery injuries that have plagued Suarez, Bale and Rooney throughout pre-season. Instead the Belgium has knuckled down, done everything asked of him by Martinez and his coaching team and produced a commanding performance in the opening league fixture against Norwich. It is hard to argue against the attraction of a move to United for Fellaini, the Champions of England, guarenteed Champions League football and the opportunity to be reunited with a coach he knows and trusts. Let’s hope Fellaini retains his dignified approach and continues to represent Everton in the correct way, especially if a move fails to materialise in the next 14 days.
Roberto Martinez will never shy away from the possibility of Fellaini moving elsewhere. He was fully aware of the release clause and knew that even on expiry, teams would still retain an interest. Martinez has a wish list of players, signings he would like to make should funds become available, but equally he is comfortable with the squad currently in his possession. He would like to add, but he can do that through the loan market, with moves for Barry and Moses the most likely. He is not under pressure to sell and will not welcome the disruption this late in the window.
On a final note, the option of selling Leighton Baines has not been considered in this article. That is because the Blues cannot afford to lose the best left back in Europe. The not for sale sign should be nailed to the door and Manchester United and anyone else for that matter told to stay away.
Would you sell Fellaini or is it now too late to consider the departure of Everton’s midfield enforcer?