One of Manchester United’s most productive players this season could leave the club sooner than expected. According to several reports in both English and European press, Marouane Fellaini could easily be on his way out of Old Trafford since he is reportedly keen on a move to Turkish Super League champions, Besiktas.
Fellaini signed a one-year contract extension with Manchester United last year. However, his current deal expires at the end of the current season and there has not been any talks of a potential extension. As such, the scenario is quite simple – and especially if Fellaini is keen about a move to Turkey. United have two alternatives: either they let him negotiate in January, or they extend him before the end of the current year. Considering how this very well might be Fellaini’s last big contract, he could easily be enthusiasted by the chance.
But on the other hand, playing for Manchester United is not something easy to achieve, and he is also used to the Premier League. And as if that wasn’t enough, he had been one of the most productive players for the team before suffering an injury. So with that in mind, there is one final question to make. Should United offer Fellaini a new contract extension in the coming weeks? Let’s discuss.
Positive aspects of extending Fellaini
- Mourinho, apparently, loves him. That’s one huge plus, and Fellaini certainly earned his way into the starting XI. He was not very good in the beginning of the season, but improved as the season went and had secured a starting spot alongside Nemanja Matic in central midfield before suffering the injury on international duty with Belgium.
- He is a goal-scoring presence from a holding-midfielder role. Fellaini has always been a scoring force, as evidenced by his years at Everton where he scored 33 goals in 177 matches. He has 19 in 142 games for Manchester United, and has added 16 in 80 caps with Belgium. In short? He can score. And that kind of scoring output from a central midfielder is something few teams have in the world.
- Has several years left to play quality football because he is only 29 years old. Central midfielders tend to reach their peak years between the ages of 28 and 32, so Fellaini essentially could have between three to four more years at the highest level. That’s enough to give him a short-term deal while finding a potential replacement in the transfer market.
Negative aspects of extending Fellaini
- His physical game could wore him down quicker than your average central midfielder. Fellaini signed with Everton in 2008 and later joined United, which means he has almost 10 years at the highest level in the English Premier League. And if we take into consideration the fact that he is a very physical player, then he might suffer the wear-and-tear of almost an entire decade at the Premier League, forcing his decline earlier than most would think.
- He is 29 years old already. A contract extension would likely maintain him at the club until he is 31 or 32. While he would not exactly be past his prime at that age, United have been getting younger in recent years.
- There might be better alternatives on the transfer market. United have been linked with lots of central midfielders in recent weeks, such as Carlos Soler or Leander Dendoncker. Both are younger, more technical, and have far more upside than Fellaini. If the team wants to get younger and build a sustained core for the future, then both appear as better alternatives than the Belgian.
Fellaini must be one of the most polarizing players on United’s current squad. Fans either love him or hate him. But we can’t deny he has been very productive this season. And he can offer an alternative to central midfield in case Mourinho decides to play Matic with Paul Pogba on that role. He can be a very good option off the bench, and offers several interesting tactical qualities.
Losing him for free would be huge for the team, because it would send the wrong message. So United should extend his current deal for at least one more year, and take it from there. If things go sour they can always sell him. But losing him now, considering the form he was showing before the injury, wouldn’t be a very good idea. It’s not like the team has a lot of CM depth to begin with.
So yes, he might not be popular among fans. But Fellaini is a productive player. And he deserves another contract from The Red Devils. He has earned it.