Football

Marouane Fellaini holds the key for United

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This summer oversaw a difficult start to Manchester United's dealings in the transfer window.

Where other clubs were strengthening to prepare for a title challenge, United were left with rejected approaches, failed enquiries and bids turned down.

Names such as Cesc Fabregas, Daniele De Rossi and Thiago Alcantara were amongst the rumours or bids from Manchester United, while a persistently rumoured return to Old Trafford for Cristiano Ronaldo failed to materialise. 

In truth, United very closely came to going a whole summer window without bringing in one big name at the club.

Double bids for the most likely arrivals; Moyes' former players at Everton, Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, were swiftly rejected, leaving Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward bearing the brunt of United fan's frustrations. 

It took until the 11th hour of transfer deadline day to complete a signing, in the form of Fellaini. Some saw it as a good signing, some saw it as a desperate, whereas some saw it as a sign of weakness that the only place Moyes could deliver a name was at his former club.

Whichever it was, the £27.5 million deal was not what United fans had envisaged when Moyes claimed he had no budget set in his pursuit for new players. 

Fellaini might not have been first choice, possibly not even second, but the Belgian could very well end up being a key competent for Manchester United, particularly in Europe.

Limited experience in the Champions League may suggest otherwise, but looking at United in Europe the past few years, the midfielder is exactly what United need. 

For all of United's ability and talent, what they have really lacked - and is evident more so in Europe - is the ability to bully teams in midfield.

When United lock horns with some of Europe's best talents, they have not had the brutish force to bully these players out of the game, to intimidate their opposition in the most crucial area of the pitch.

A clear example being last season's knock-out to Real Madrid, although disadvantaged by poor refereeing leading to Nani's dismissal, a player like Fellaini could definitely have come in use with battling an advancing Madrid midfield on United's deep-lying defensive line.

Like Javi Martinez at Bayern last season, or Sergio Busquets at Barcelona - despite his theatrical behaviour - there are players needed to be that midfield bully to allow their more technically gifted team mates the opportunity to shine, and Fellaini can be that man for United. 

Alongside Michael Carrick on Tuesday night, Fellaini did not look out of his place on his full debut - the Belgian showed he is willing to get stuck in, more so than the composed and tactical Carrick.

With these two together, Carrick dictating play and Fellaini being the brute force, breaking up play and carrying the ball through the opposition midfield, it could make for a blossoming midfield partnership, both domestically and in Europe. 

Used to playing behind the main striker at Everton, Fellaini may well have to get used to sitting deeper, allowing the attacking burden to remain on players such as Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, but if he settles into the role and makes it his own, he could very well be key for United's European hopes. 

If in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, there is no reason that he, Carrick and Kagawa as an attacking midfielder could not emerge as one of the best midfield trios in Europe.

Whether Moyes uses these formations remains to be seen, with early signals of his preference of deploying both Rooney and Van Persie to partner one another. 

When Fellaini put pen-to-paper at Old Trafford, even though the most loyal of Manchester United fans would have found it difficult to say that the summer transfer window was a success, and that Fellaini was a move just to get someone in.

But Moyes, despite his failed approaches, is shrewd in the transfer market, even if a little reluctant, and his signing of the Belgian will have been made only to improve United, not just to bring someone in. 

Time will tell as to whether Fellaini can become the missing piece of United's midfield jigsaw, but if he performs to the level he did at Everton, the Belgian may very well end up being a masterstroke from United's new Scotsman at the helm. 

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Topics:
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Marouane Fellaini
Football
Premier League

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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