Marouane Fellaini was tipped to leave Manchester United at the start of the season, with many people saying he wouldn't fit into Louis van Gaal's style of play, nevertheless, the big Belgian has flourished under the new boss.
Many times last season Fellaini was the scapegoat under David Moyes. He was their only summer signing and honestly, he failed to reach the heights that he did at Everton during a poor season for the Manchester club, not helped by a whopping £27 million price tag.
Now, however, the tables have turned, Fellaini has been one of United's constants so far in the core of that starting eleven, his physical presence has been a thorn in the oppositions side ever since that turnaround game against West Brom, in which he netted his first competitive United goal.
Fellaini flourishing in slightly different role
Since then Fellaini looks like a new player all together, playing with more confidence after scoring a couple of goals, but not only that, the effort he puts in for the team is probably his main asset. This is getting many people wondering, United fans have been calling for a world-class centre midfielder for a few seasons now, but can Fellaini develop into that player?
The Belgian international will never be the sort of player to steal all the headlines in a deeper role. Look at Claude Makelele who is now considered a brilliant former deep midfielder, but at the time he was playing, he didn't exactly steal the limelight.
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Can Fellaini keep his new role long term?
Another player that doesn't get enough credit in that holding midfield role is current player Sergio Busquets, the Barcelona man is surrounded by brilliant attacking individuals, but without the Spaniard sitting just behind them, the Catalan club wouldn't find themselves scoring as many goals and of course would concede a few more.
Fellaini has brilliant ability in holding up the ball and laying off his teammates to trigger an attack, he scares defenders while going forward with his physique and can nick a goal too, so he isn't just a defensive minded player. Louis van Gaal is rumoured to have plans to bring fellow compatriot Kevin Strootman into the mix in the near future and you'd think the tough-tackling Dutchman would rob Fellaini of his first team place, while Strootman is a brilliant player and would be a great signing for the Red Devils, there is only room for one of them in that already packed midfield.
With Michael Carrick close to hanging up his boots, a solid centre midfielder is a necessity for United, whether Fellaini is the man to replace him is an intriguing subject, if he continues to perform how he is doing, the 27-year-old may well be staying at Old Trafford for many years to come as the rock in the midfield.