Why Manchester United might start missing Marouane Fellaini in a few games
According to a report in Sky Sports, Belgian international midfielder Marouane Fellaini has left Manchester United to join Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng on a permanent deal. The 31-year-old arrived at Old Trafford back in 2013 for £27m when David Moyes was in charge.
However, his time with the Red Devils has finally come to an end. He scored 12 goals in 119 Premier League appearances, and 22 in 177 appearances in all competitions combined. Fellaini was a versatile player, used differently by the different managers who were in charge while he was at the club.
Here’s why United might miss him in certain games, especially with the team still fighting in three competitions going into the final three months of the season:
Fellaini’s prowess is unique and should have been used
Throughout his time at Manchester United, Marouane Fellaini was used for different purposes. Louis Van Gaal used him as a second striker at times, to win aerial duels and do flick-ons for the other runners in the box.
The Dutchman also used him in a specific midfield position to attract defenders out of position and create space for the striker.
We still remember that game against Liverpool at Anfield when Van Gaal deployed the Belgian as an attacking midfielder just on the side of the right-back. United played direct balls towards him, attracted the attention of one of the centre-backs, which in turn created space for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.
Fast-forward to the Jose Mourinho era, and Fellaini was initially used as a defensive midfielder to win aerial duels in the middle. Then the former Everton man was used as a second striker in many a game when a late goal was needed. Hence, he was used at both ends of the field.
Hence, even though the 31-year-old is not the most eye-catching player in the game, he possesses certain qualities that are unique and no other player can have. So Manchester United should have kept him as a surprise man in their squad.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could have unleashed him in times of need for more height in either box to defend or score during the late stages of a game. With the team still fighting in three competitions, they should have kept Fellaini, at least until the summer.