Marouane Fellaini: What Everton Need to Do to Keep Him at Goodison Park

Matt CheethamCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2013

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Marouane Fellaini of Everton celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on December 26, 2009 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

There is no long list of requirements for Everton to keep hold of star man Marouane Fellaini, quite simply, the club need to make the Champions League.

If that status can be reached by the end of this current season, there's no reason for the Belgian to leave.

With a transfer window now in full operation, rumours of a Fellaini departure have predictably become a recurring topic for provocative reporters.

Chelsea are the new side viewed as his eventual destination (via The Times), with other sources even suggesting a move away from the Toffees could be imminent (via L'Équipe). 

The concerning crux of these recent reports is the frequent presence of a buyout clause (via BBCSport). A new addition to rumour pieces, that would leave the Toffees' powerless to fend off admirers.

Then, it would be down to him.

While it's plausible he would want to go, if that colossal bid came in, it still seems far more likely this will be a saga for the summer.

Fellaini is currently involved in a fierce scrap for Champions League qualification.

He is the top man at the unfancied but respected Toffees and must surely enjoy the national praise he secures after dragging his side to another victory. 

Playing in a squad where his endeavours are so noticed earns him considerable acclaim. If he can do this at a higher level with the Toffees he'll have far more options when he eventually moves on.

Just how high would his stock rise should bring Champions League football to Goodison Park?

In terms of finances, he is believed to be the highest paid player in the Toffees' history (via The Telegraph), so it's unlikely that would fuel a move.

If Everton make the Champions League, taking the pitch with the Toffees would really get Fellaini's name in lights. He would be the integral force on an elite stage, and a couple of typically imposing performances would cause the top clubs to start haggling for his services.

There is no doubt Fellaini's play has reached a level that deserves to feature in the Champions League, especially his contributions this season.

Few Evertonians would begrudge him that opportunity—especially if he can lead the Toffees there first—but were that achieved, it's something he and the club can experience together, at least for the first time.

In a few years, his game will probably elevate even further, to the stage where he's wanting to compete for the trophy.

That's something Everton wouldn't be in contention for, yet by taking the Toffees there and then shining on that platform, Fellaini would ensure his next move would be colossal. To a Real Madrid or Bayern Munich—a team competing for every trophy they enter.

If Everton can make that leap to the Champions League, a tall, but not impossible task, it will be far easier to persuade their Belgian to linger a little longer as a Toffee.

No Champions League next season would almost certainly mean no Fellaini.