(Written by Breno Vinicius Rodrigues Borges)
Three clubs broke their transfer record in the past transfer window. Manchester United who bought Dimitar Berbatov for Â£30.75 million, Manchester City who purchased Robinho for Â£32.5 million and Everton acquired Marouane Fellaini for a fee of Â£15 million. The footballing exploits of both Berbatov and Robinho for their respective clubs and countries have been well documented by the press but Fellaini’s transfer has passed largely unnoticed unless you happen to be a reader of the Liverpool Echo.
Lacking the glamour of a huge money move, Everton’s outlay is a lot of money for a club with limited resources. So who is this 20-year-old Belgian, untried in the Premier League, that commands a fee approximate to the purported amount that Liverpool were asking for Xabi Alonso, a Champions League winner with 48 international caps.
Felliani has been brought in to complement Segundo Castillo (previously previewed here) at the heart of Everton’s midfield. With Castillo replacing Lee Carsley as Everton’s midfield enforcer, Felliani will have the freedom to attack the box. In eighty-four appearances for Standard Liege he scored eleven goals, whilst for the Belgian national side he has one goal in ten games. Blessed with height (he stands at 6ft 4in) and possessing a strong physical presence expect him to supplement Cahill’s threat at corners and set pieces.
The midfielder is held in high regard by the Liege management who were reluctant to sell him having just won the Belgian Jupiler League’s Ebony Shoe (an award given annually to the best African player or player with African roots in the League – Fellaini is of Moroccan descent). With Everton only picking up three points from their first three games and having just suffered a thrashing by Portsmouth last weekend, David Moyes must be hoping that Felliani is a player who can kick-start their stalling season.
The transfer may smack of a panic buy but Everton have been tracking their man since he turned eighteen and with a reported thirty-eight scouts turning up to one game to watch him play he is considered one of the top up-and-coming European talents. However, with Moyes having still not signed an extension to his contract and being regarded as one of the top managers outside the Big Four, the Everton board may be trying to placate him by splashing the cash in the transfer market.
So, will Fellaini be a success in England? Playing in the Jupiler League is a world away from playing in what is arguably the most physically demanding league in the world. Although he put in two good performances against Liverpool in the qualifying round for the Champions League, European football is a completely different proposition from the rigors of a full Premier League season. At first glance it does appear that Fellaini has the raw ingredients to succeed. The Gladwys Street faithful will be hoping that he can have a similar impact on their club that Ronnie Rosenthal had after moving from Standard Liege to Liverpool when he played a vital part in helping them to their last league title in 1990.
Video evidence of Marouane Fellaini can be seen here.