The latest development in Manchester United’s summer attempts to bolster their playing squad has seen the Premier League champions have a £28 million bid for Everton duo Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines rejected. The Old Trafford outfit have been linked to the pair for some time and with David Moyes now in the hotseat a move for his former players makes sense. However, has the Scot shown disrespect to his ex-employers with the timing and amount of money on the table?
United’s main transfer priority this summer has been the acquisition of a creative midfielder to fill the long-standing gap that Paul Scholes at his pomp has left. Efforts to lure Barcelona pair Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara to Old Trafford have been unsuccessful, and it now seems that United are looking to other priorities and positions.
The first insult that Moyes has paid Everton is the timing of the bids for Fellaini and Baines. If the United manager had decided that he wanted the Toffees’ duo, why did he not go out and make a concerted effort to buy them earlier in the transfer window? Surely it would be a benefit to let the new faces settle into their new environment, and would allow Everton the grace of finding replacements.
The fact that he has left it until after the start of the Premier League season is inconsiderate and means that the Merseysiders are unlikely to be receptive to United’s advances due to the lack of time to find able deputies.
Then you have to look at the amount of money on the table. United’s £28 million has been broken down as £12m for Baines and £16m for Fellaini – surely not enough for either player. United lodged a £12m bid for the England international left-back earlier in the summer, only for it to be rejected. What has changed to suggest that Everton would consider selling their prize defender now?
Fellaini has spent five seasons at Everton and has grown in stature since moving to England as a 20-year-old back in 2008. The £15m that the Merseysiders paid Standard Liege to bring the towering Belgian to Merseyside was a club record transfer, which stands to this day. Given that Fellaini has improved markedly, became an important man for club and country and is now in the prime of his career, does a £1m increase in the fee Everton paid seem reasonable? £15m was Everton’s initial payment, with reported add-ons to the deal, so there is every chance that United’s offer is less than the Goodison Park outfit paid in total for Fellaini.
Everton’s financial hardship over the last ten years has been no secret and Moyes had to struggle to keep the club afloat through thrifty business in the transfer market. If a similarly low offer had been lodged for the pair by United last summer when the Scot was still in the Goodison Park hotseat, Moyes would have told the Old Trafford side where to go in no uncertain terms.
The fact that Moyes has failed to take Everton’s situation into consideration is worrying. He would not have appreciated similar treatment from countryman Sir Alex Ferguson a year earlier and his actions may well have taken the sheen slightly off how he is remembered at the Goodison Park club.