In recent times Everton have seen a lot of interest in their talismanic central midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Premier League rivals such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been credited with interest in the Belgian and it seems that a move is on the cards that would see him leave the Goodison Park side whom he has been at since signing from Belgian side Standard Liege for £15million in 2008.
Last season Fellaini was certainly one of Everton’s two best perfomers, he played in 31 of the Liverpool outfits 38 games scoring 11 times. However, despite the importance of the Belgian to Everton and to the Evertonians, it is common knowledge that a bid of £23million pound from a Champions League playing club activates a release clause for the frizzy haired midfielder. Obviously losing a player of Fellaini’s calibre would be damaging to Everton’s chances of a European place finish next season but would losing Fellaini actually be as bad as it seems for Everton?
If Everton were to sell Fellaini, incoming manager Roberto Martinez would have money to spend in the transfer window. It’s common knowledge the Everton aren’t rolling in money and so selling Fellaini would probably give them their transfer budget for the summer. His release clause is rumouredly £23million and this is enough for ‘The Blues’ to get in a few new faces that would not only replace the Belgian but see them strengthen other areas i.e. a new striker. The major difference for Everton over the last few seasons, especially when challenging for Europe, is that their main rivals for European places are much richer than them. They can afford not to sell to buy, the same cannot be said for Everton who have sold players like Jack Rodwell and Joleon Lescott to Manchester City and Mikel Arteta to Arsenal in recent seasons. So selling Fellaini would supply them with the money they need to go after players like Leroy Fer of FC Twente and Arouna Koné of Wigan, two of Everton’s reported targets.
Secondly, Fellaini’s sale could gather up to £23million, this would result in a lack of a need to sell other players such as Leighton Baines. Baines has no release clause and so Everton are in a different position with their left-back to the one they are in with Fellaini as they are under no obligation to sell the England international.
In my opinion, Baines is not only a better player than Fellaini but would also be harder to replace and this is the reason I believe Everton should look into selling Fellaini rather than Baines. Baines, the only player to feature in all 38 of Everton’s Premier League games last season is, I think, is much more of a key player to the club than the Belgain. Think about it logically the fee Everton would receive for the left-back would be around £15million, £8million less than what they would receive for Fellaini, in my opinion Baines is right up there with the Jordi Alba’s and Ashley Cole’s of this world and could not be suitably replaced for £15million.
However, for £23million, Everton could find a suitable replacement for Fellaini with the likes of Leroy Fer being available this summer. So selling Fellaini would mean Leighton Baines stays at Everton, unless they receive a ridiculous offer.
If we look back at the last time Everton broke into the top four it was the 2004-2005 season, the first season since the sale of wonderkid striker Wayne Rooney to Manchester United. Everton used that money to buy key players in that seasons side, Tim Cahill arrived from Millwall, Mikel Arteta arrived from Real Sociedad and James Beattie came from Southampton (the later two signed in January and February of that season).
The sale of Rooney effectively saw Everton into the Champions League in terms of financing the club to be able to achieve what they did. Could a sale of Fellaini see a similar rise? Well it’s unlikely, Everton would have to finish higher than three of both Manchester clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool (as well as obviously the other sides) and although this is not impossible, I wouldn’t advise betting on heavily on it. Despite this, it could easily see them into the Europa League either via the league or the cup. Selling Fellaini could be them bring in new players, and bringing much desired European nights back to Goodison.
All in all, I believe Evertonians need not worry too much about Fellaini’s departure because it would allow Martinez to have ample money to buy who he wants in terms of replacements and other players, it would allow them to hang onto other key players such as Leighton Baines and finally it could see them repeat the scenes of 2005 and could see European football return to Goodison.