Belfast Telegraph

Ruthless Van Gaal looks set to wield his axe on flop Fellaini

By Ian Herbert

Manchester United are willing to sell Marouane Fellaini to Napoli after new manager Louis van Gaal indicated that last summer's £27.5m signing will not feature in his plans.

Van Gaal may also be ready to allow Shinji Kagawa to leave, with Borussia Dortmund ready to take back a player who made his name there before leaving for Old Trafford.

A Fellaini move to Napoli will be contingent on United accepting a loan deal, though they are keen for a sale to recoup the huge outlay on their fourth-most expensive signing.

The player would also need to take a considerable cut in the £100,000-a-week wage United agreed when his arrival seemed to salvage something from a desperate transfer window last summer.

Napoli are not awash with cash. They are also looking to move players on to raise funds, which is why they want a loan.

Fellaini, who returned to training at Carrington yesterday with his Belgium World Cup team-mate Adnan Januzaj, is thought to be receptive to a move.

The Italian side's pitch to him will be that they can offer him the chance to rebuild his career, as well as the prospect of Champions League football.

Napoli, managed by Rafael Benitez, think that Fellaini's physicality would be useful in Serie A. There has been informal communication between United and the Italian club but discussions are at an early stage.

Though Van Gaal has said he will give players at least four weeks to demonstrate what they can do, the future of 25-year-old Kagawa also appears to be in the balance, with United looking to reduce the size of their squad and the Dutchman of the view that there is an "imbalance" in it, with too many No 10s.

Kagawa has not made an impact in the first two tour games, with the third against Internazionale at FedEx Field, the home of the Washington Redskins, being played in Maryland this evening.

Anderson is also a player United want to clear out, though it is not clear who would buy him. Nani wants to leave, but nobody is banging the door down to take him, either.

Javier Hernandez is another thought to be ready to restart his career elsewhere, having failed to live up to the promise of his first season.

United's discussion with Van Gaal next month over their 2015 pre-season tour plans will be flavoured by the fact that the club have been invited back to the United States to stage lucrative friendlies in New York, Dallas and Chicago.

Van Gaal has been frustrated by the travelling demands placed on his players and was infuriated to face a near two-hour coach journey from Los Angeles to train and play at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. But everything points to another US tour next year.

Meanwhile, Tom Cleverley is glad Louis van Gaal gave his "role model" Ryan Giggs a place on the Manchester United coaching staff.

Doubts were raised about Giggs' future at the end of last season when he hung up his boots following a four-match spell as player-manager.

New manager Van Gaal brought five staff members with him when he was appointed in May, but he felt it was important to keep a link with the club's past, so Giggs was immediately sounded out about becoming the Dutchman's assistant.

Having been at the club for 24 years, Cleverley thinks the presence of the 13-time Premier League winner around the training ground can have a good effect on the squad this season as they look to challenge for the title following a dismal year under David Moyes.

"We have known (Giggs) for a long time and he is brilliant for the players," the midfielder said.

"As a young player growing up at the club he has been the best role model there is.

"You look at his career and all the titles he has won and hopefully he can pass his knowledge onto the players. It is good to have him around."

Van Gaal will take charge of his third match as Manchester United manager at FedEx field when Inter Milan will provide the opposition.

The Italian giants will have a familiar face in their XI – that of Nemanja Vidic.

The former United captain joined Inter this summer after an eight-year spell at Old Trafford, where he amassed 15 trophies.

The Serb has settled in well at the Italian club and is happy to be working under manager Walter Mazzarri.

Belfast Telegraph


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