Marouane Fellaini is ready to reject a reunion with David Moyes at Sunderland after Jose Mourinho reassured him he would have a part to play with Manchester United next season.
According to The Independent, Moyes is keen to sign the Belgian midfielder for the third time in his career after taking over at the Stadium of Light. The Scotsman brought Fellaini to Everton before paying £27.5m to do the same when he took charge of Manchester United in 2013.
Unfortunately, Moyes lasted only 11 months at Old Trafford and Fellaini's association with his legacy has made him a much-maligned figure amongst Red Devils fans. He was a regular performer under Louis van Gaal but was seen to represent a style of football that the crowds did not want to see.
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It was simply assumed that the 28-year-old would be one of the first victims of Mourinho's alleged cull. The Portuguese coach has always built his teams on few players and as many as nine stars are expected to leave by the time the transfer window comes to a close.
But while Mourinho says no player is guaranteed a starting spot in his squad, he has told Fellaini that there is a role for him should he want it. That role is likely to be that of an impact substitute but it appears he is willing to accept it.
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So Fellaini has been encouraged that he will form an important part in Mourinho's squad even though the impending arrival of Paul Pogba from Juventus is likely to push him further down the pecking order.
Pogba is closing in on a £100m transfer and he will join Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Daley Blind in fighting for a midfield spot. There is also the chance that Wayne Rooney will again be given a chance to impress there.
Schweinsteiger and Blind are both expected to depart this month, leaving Mourinho with a manageable four central midfielder ahead of the Premier League season.
Although, Fellaini may have been spared from the chop because he can play in a variety of positions, not just central midfield. Regularly described as a powerhouse, Fellaini has found himself playing as a target man up front both at Everton and United.
While his forceful style of play is not to the taste of many, his effectiveness from set pieces and long balls has made him a valuable asset to every manager he has played under. Always one to champion substance over style, Mourinho appears to agree with his predecessors.