August 16, 2017
Transfer rumours can be as accurate as they are ridiculous. None, however, are as strange as when one that initially seems ludicrous ends up being the truth, as a move occurs. Should Marouane Fellaini move to Juventus, this would be the case… on the face of it.
Juventus’ search for squad depth in midfield is well-documented, as after the options of Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira, and Miralem Pjanic, the Bianconeri are threadbare in the centre of the pitch. This has reportedly led them to PSG’s Blaise Matuidi, the perfect squad player in many aspects.
However, should a move for Matuidi not pan out, Massimiliano Allegri’s alternative is supposedly Marouane Fellaini, who, if reports are to be believed, could be available for £22 million. This story could be true, but the fact of the matter is that a variety of inconsistencies make this move a conflicting option for both Juventus and United.
From Juventus’ standpoint, Fellaini could be a very good addition- their attack is angled around transitional, counter-attacking football, as shown by their additions of pace in Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa.
Their tragic flaw last season was the lethargy with which they transitioned on the counter, which could be somewhat solved by Bernardeschi and Costa, but Fellaini would give them an entirely different option; a player who could sit behind Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala and be a massive long-ball target for Gianluigi Buffon and the Juventus back four.
On the other hand, Fellaini isn’t an alternative to Blaise Matuidi, an all-action midfielder who can slot in anywhere and do a job. One could argue that Fellaini is better at what he does than Matuidi, but as a squad player, Matuidi would simply slot in for Juventus and work hard, be it from the left-wing, in defensive midfield, or as a transitional alternative to Pjanic, roles that Fellaini can’t play.
The only reason for which United should sell Fellaini is the fact he seems to be persistently used in this position in awkward situations, as shown by the late substitution that saw the Belgian on the pitch for no reason in the final minutes against West Ham.
Unless Mourinho is certain that United’s diminutive and skillful set of forwards can score enough goals to win the quadruple this season, Fellaini will be needed at times when United are on the back foot and the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial cannot receive the ball in space.
Fellaini should be an important alternative for United the same way he would be for Juventus, because much like the Bianconeri, United don’t have the best players in Europe and will need tactical nous and counter-attacking football to succeed in the Champions League.
Mourinho already stated that Fellaini is too important to United, and he won’t be leaving this summer. His importance to the club due to his specific tactical role in the squad is constantly underrated among the United faithful due to Fellaini’s tendency to be frustrating at times.
What many people don’t realize is that there is no player in world football who can play Fellaini’s role to his level. It’s easy to want him out, but retrospectively, that decision would be irreversible and could hurt United’s lofty ambitions of European glory in the seasons ahead.