Arsenal dealt five-year blow as Belgian target signs on

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Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Marouane Fellaini, with the midfielder penning a new long-term deal at Everton.

The Belgian international was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates in the summer, with the Toffees revealing that the Gunners made an approach over both Fellaini and Mikel Arteta's availability in August.

Whilst the Spaniard made the move to north London, David Moyes was able to keep hold of the 23-year-old, and chief executive Robert Elstone is delighted to have the player tied down to a five-year deal.

"We are delighted to have secured the services of Marouane for the long term," Elstone told the club's official website.

"As everyone is aware these negotiations have been ongoing for some time but both parties remained positive that we would reach agreement.

"Marouane has been a hugely influential player for Everton since his arrival in 2008 and we hope that remains to be the case for the next five years."

The former Standard Liege enforcer moved to Merseyside in 2008, and after a tricky spell adapting to life in the Barclays Premier League, Fellaini quickly became integral to Moyes' side.

But the manager was forced to admit that the financial situation at the club could see their top players leave, with Fellaini one of those wanted elsewhere - notably at Arsenal.

However, the long-term contract is likely to end any possible long-standing interest Arsenal may have had in the player, and Wenger will be forced to look elsewhere if he wishes to strengthen the club's midfield ranks.

Yann M'Vila, Lucho Gonzalez and Esteban Granero have also been linked with moves to the Emirates in recent weeks, and may now represent more realistic options for the Arsenal hierarchy in the New Year.

Premier League
Marouane Fellaini

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