Fellaini contract extension: A waste of time and money for United?

Manchester United midfielder, Marouane Fellaini has rejected a contract offer proposal from the club. The midfielder has less than a year on his current deal which will run down very fast, as fast as at the end of the season after which he will become a free agent and is able to contact interested clubs who want his signature, unless United meet his demands.

Fellaini (30), has rejected advances from the United camp over an extension due to financial factors. Fellaini wants to stay at the club and has no intention in leaving, but, wants assurances over his playing time and financial demands. United’s midfield has been the problem child this season, from inconsistent performances and a slow approach, Fellaini isn’t that type of player that increases the dynamism or has the quality to run the game like his teammates Pogba and Matic, but, slows the game in the hand. In the closing stages of the season, Mourinho has stuck to a formation of 4-3-3, with Matic, Herrera and Pogba playing in central midfield. It seemed a well-balanced trio, the type that is highly required in the United side.

But, even these quality performances were in vain due to the inconsistent displays showed by Pogba and Herrera, two players who can direct the tempo of the game and are required to have high intelligence and sharpness in the full course of the match. We might have thought that we were about to see a changed Pogba after his brilliant display against Manchester City, Spurs and Arsenal, but he once again disappeared against smaller opposition where he was less than average. Didn’t think before passing, lacking basic logical reasons and key decisions. He wasted too many chances and decided to take matters into his own hands thus acting selfish and not playing as a team or a ‘creative’ and ‘box-to-box’ midfielder. It was not just him but the entire midfield who were below par during losses against West Brom and Brighton. These inconsistent displays had led Mourinho to switch to his back-up midfielders namely Fellaini and McTominay. McTominay could still be a reasonable solution due to his stellar breakthrough season, but, it clearly doesn’t justify the backing given to Fellaini.

It is clear that we do not know what happens in the training ground or tactical briefings of the manager. Jose has defended Fellaini a number of times from the harsh media, even if he doesn’t perform that well on the pitch. However, Mourinho is more concerned over the players commitment, loyalty and being a ‘Great Person’ rather than even a ‘Good Footballer’. Jose’s support for the Belgian is like any other and he truly believes that his favourite comrade will sign a new deal and will not breach his trust. He has gone on to say,” The position is that we are almost there but in football almost is not enough,” He added, “We are almost there but I can’t celebrate because almost is not enough. “I want to see the white paper with the United’s crest and Ed Woodward’s signature and Marouane’s signature.” Mourinho added: “I think a player that grabs the crest after scoring is telling clearly that he wants to stay. I want him to stay, the club wants him to stay, I think he will stay, it is nearly there.”

Mourinho may be confident about the prospect that Fellaini will sign an extension, but he has different words. “I am now 30 years old, at the end of my contract and negotiating with Manchester United, there are several clubs that show interest. I’m waiting for what’s going to happen. The entire (United) staff is doing everything so I can stay. The club did not renew my contract last year. Now I am in a strong position, especially since Mourinho has stated that he wants to keep me. Last year I went to the coach and I said that I wanted a new contract. I then had a second meeting, but I will not ask it 10 times. Afterwards I became important for the team and a good player cost at least €50 million. The club knows that they went wrong there.”

Fellaini may be a good impact player and a good dominating factor in the air, but as an overall midfielder he doesn’t fit the current bill at Old Trafford. He is slow, clumsy on the ball and gives away too many fouls. After his winner against Arsenal, Mourinho decided to start him instead of Herrera. The result was not as expected. Fellaini was one of the worst players on the pitch giving away possession and his passing accuracy was off the radar. He was immediately substituted in the 2nd half. A player of his caliber and age, will just be a hurdle for progress as United require creativity in the engine department and overall versatility that the team requires, which Fellaini cannot provide. He may be good in the air, but we cannot let him sign a contract for that specific reason. He is simply a liability and if we want to think about the future, Fellaini is clearly not a part of it even though he is Mourinho’s go to man. We have to think about the greater good. At 30 and not intelligent, a new deal worth 140 Thousand doesn’t make sense and will be a serious waste of wages.

Even if he signs a new deal, back to back starts will not be guaranteed to him, even by the manager as he also knows that there are better players than him in the squad. He doesn’t deserve a new contract and United should let him go and sign a player better than him. The player that fits the bill is Milinkovic-Savic. Tall, strong, decent amount of pace, great passer and technical ability, can shoot and is a total flat-track-bully that United require. Lazio want excess of 100 million for him, but, United are willing to offer 80 million for his services.

Fellaini is a free agent in the summer and is targeted by many clubs in the Turkish League, Ligue 1, Serie A and few Premier League clubs. His agent also hinted over a possible move to China in the Chinese Super League.

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About the Author

Sajiv Shah
Blogger and writer on Manchester United. Massive United Fan.