Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Fellaini paid way to United

Manchester United left it late to complete the signing of Marouane Fellaini
Manchester United left it late to complete the signing of Marouane Fellaini

Marouane Fellaini took a £4million hit to complete his dream move to Manchester United.

As deadline day ticked towards its conclusion there was no sign of an end to the impasse that had United sticking to a maximum £23.5million transfer fee in line with the escape clause in Fellaini's contract that lapsed at the end of July.

And with Everton chairman Bill Kenwright holding firm on his demand for £27.5million, the Belgian took matters into his own hands.

Press Association Sport understands that Fellaini offered to waive a £4m loyalty bonus, which meant United did not have to pay any additional transfer fee and Everton got the overall amount they were demanding.

The move underlines how badly Fellaini wanted to make the switch to Old Trafford, which also included being driven to Everton's Finch Farm training complex on Monday evening to hand in a formal transfer request.

It should at least leave United fans in no doubt where Fellaini's heart lies, even if it was largely a transfer window of frustration for Red Devils supporters.

Club officials have been able to point to the notable achievement of keeping Wayne Rooney, despite Chelsea's clear interest in the England forward.

Wilfried Zaha is also now on board after completing the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace and with manager David Moyes seemingly certain to select 18-year-old Belgian Adnan Januzaj in his first-team squad on a regular basis, there is a freshness about United.

Nevertheless, it is a window that will chiefly be remembered for the extended pursuit of Cesc Fabregas that seemed to continue long after it was doomed to almost certain failure.

In addition, United were unable to secure the marquee purchases of Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, who are now team-mates at Real Madrid.

On Monday night, there was the farcical situation of three lawyers who worked on a previous transfer involving Athletic Bilbao turning up unannounced at La Liga headquarters, apparently trying to muscle in on a non-existent deal for Ander Herrera.

Moyes does remain a fan of the young midfielder but was unwilling to pay a near club-record £30.5million for a player who has never played in the Champions League.

And in trying, and failing, to secure the services of Leighton Baines and Fabio Coentrao, Moyes now not only does not have an additional left-back, he might well have upset the one he already has, Patrice Evra.

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