Over the weekend Marouane Fellaini caused a stir around Merseyside when he supposedly provided the Belgian media with some provocative comments on his future.
Speaking to 'Het Nieuwsblad,' he was quoted as saying:
“I have started my fifth season at Everton. This will be one of my last seasons. I have seen everything. In January, or at the end of the season, I will look for another club or league.”
This type of story has become almost synonymous with international breaks, as several similar quotes tend to find their way to the press around this time of year. Premier League stars disperse back to their national media, give candid insight about their current ambitions and cause furore when their words eventually filter their way through to fans. Once reunited with their club, the players are then quick to disassociate themselves with the rumours, claiming their words were misconstrued and lost in translation.
Fellaini attempted to dilute his comments by posting the following on his Facebook site:
“I was very surprised to read in some newspapers that I will leave Everton very soon and perhaps next January. Let me remind you that I am very happy in Liverpool and our start of the championship was good. Kevin Mirallas and some other good players joined us to make a better squad. So with Everton, I am ready to play all the season and to reach our goals of this season.”
This may have partially smoothed over that matter and his commitment for this season seems in tact, but supporters will notice he avoids mentioning anything beyond next year.
What Everton will find so frustrating about this situation is that it is so unnecessary. The club realise they have a high calibre player on their hands and most around the club quietly accept he will eventually find his way to an elite club. Fellaini is a player that certainly should be appearing in the Champions League soon and if this is not something that can be achieved with the Toffees, most envisage he will indeed move on.
Signing a new long term contract last year was one way to ensure any future move is amicable, controlled and ensures Everton are well positioned to get top dollar for him.
It would be very surprising if the subject of his future away from Everton was not openly discussed as he signed his new deal. Releasing these comments right after the transfer window, with the Toffees starting the season so well, seems such a pointless and an avoidably disruptive move.
Such words have the potential to derail momentum, detract attention away from the pitch and quickly alter the positive atmosphere currently around the club. Any more would also complicate the Toffees' strong negotiating stance and disrupt his affiliation with fans. He has little to gain by highlighting a sensitive area that needs to be carefully carried out when the time is right.
When Fellaini does leave Everton, be it in this summer or not, should he have contributed to a memorable season and merited the attention of elite clubs, most fans would not begrudge him an opportunity to compete for major trophies away from the Toffees.
But being seen as orchestrating such a move himself is a quick way to divorce himself from Evertonians and darken the mood around the club.
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