Maroune Fellaini was Manchester United’s big signing of the summer, arriving from Everton for around £28 million.
David Moyes - who knew Fellaini from their time together at Everton - had great expectations for the Belgian, however he has been unable to cement a place in United’s starting line-up.
The 26-year-old has failed to re-capture the form that caught the attention from both of the Manchester clubs before his Old Trafford move, but this isn’t exactly his fault.
The Belgian became a huge goal threat during his time at Goodison Park, particularly from set-pieces. In his final full season at the club he managed 11 goals; an impressive record for a midfielder.
However goal-scoring opportunities have been scarce so far for him at United, not because he isn’t the threat he was, but because he is being played in a more defensive role.
When he plays, Fellaini is used as a defensive midfielder. His role is to protect the back line and to allow the front four and the two wing backs to get involved at every attacking opportunity.
Now although this was Fellaini’s preferred role earlier in his career, he performed better in a more advanced position at Everton, playing just behind the lone striker.
In this role he was able to get himself into the box and link up with his fellow team-mates to both create and score goals.
At Manchester United, Fellaini is to an extent in a no-win situation. It is likely that if he was to operate in an attacking role we would see an improvement in his performances, but with Wayne Rooney - who is currently playing at the top of his game - Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Luis Nani and Danny Welbeck, competition for a starting place, competition is extremely high.
As good a player as he is, the challenge to become a top Manchester United star may well prove to be just a bit too much for him.
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