Man City: 5 Reasons Why Marouane Fellaini Would Be a Perfect Signing
I remember Philippe Albert with such fondness. Perhaps, it was the way he wore a mustache. Maybe it was the way he wore a mullet. Or perhaps, it was that, despite being a centre back, he was perfectly capable of doing this to Peter Schmeichel. It was probably the hair to be fair.
Albert was the first of what is now a large contingent of Belgians in the Premier League, the hairiest of which is Marouane Fellaini, who, over the last few seasons, has risen to be one of the Premier League's most sought after players.
One of the clubs currently sniffing around is Manchester City, who found out to their cost in December just how dangerous the midfielder can be, opening the scoring in a 1-1 draw at the Etihad to put an early dent into what is now a 12-point deficit on Manchester United's league lead.
This weekend, Man City travel to Everton, and once again, will Roberto Mancini will be jotting his whiteboard in anticipation of dealing with Everton's most dangerous threat. Here are five reasons why next year, when City travel to Goodison Park, they should do so with Fellaini in their ranks.
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Standing at 6'4" (1.94m), Fellaini is a big ol' boy.
And he uses his height well, whether challenging for long balls in the middle of the park, winning a 50-50 tackle or flicking-on and nodding down when he's playing off the striker. And like with Yaya Touré, his size does not diminish his technique.
Then there's the goals—11 of them this season in 23 games, five of those from his forehead; some of them sledgehammered from his brow, some so deftly flicked that you could be forgiven that it was Art Garfunkel getting across his marker, rather than our man Marouane.
Not only that, but he's almost single-handedly bringing the chest trap into vogue, bringing down crosses from the heavens on his chest most folk would barely dream of heading.
This skill set would be an asset to any team, but why Man City in particular?
The biggest reason is defending, especially from set pieces. Last season, Man City conceded a higher proportion of set-piece goals of any team in the Premier League. (via OptaJoe). And Man City don't concede many at all, so this issue is definitely a cause for concern for them.
Unusually, Man City defend zonally, which demands that each defender must be accountable for a key area inside the penalty box. Having an extra couple of inches in height and breadth can be the difference between a clearance and a goal—only five other players won more headers than Fellaini per game this season. (via thinkfootball.co.uk)
If you look around City's side, particularly in attack, they're a small side. You wouldn't ask Agüero, Tevez or Silva to help fetch you something from the top shelf.
But creating space in and around the goal for these players is paramount, and so Fellaini could join the Džekos and Tourés of this world to distract and attract, leaving pockets for the more petite players to do their thing.
Size matters, no matter who has been telling you otherwise.
Fellaini's Ambition to Prove Himself at the Highest Level
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Fellaini has made no secret of his ambitions to join a club in the Champions League (via Goal.com). With the start that Everton got this year in the league, they might have got there themselves as they did in 2005. But poor form, combined with the recent ascent of Tottenham and Liverpool, has prompted club captain Phil Neville to say at the weekend:
"The Champions League place is in the distance, a European [Europa League] place, we would take that now." (via The Telegraph)
A barrage of abuse from the Everton fans followed Fellaini's own poor performance against Wigan, which was a direct reason for him cancelling a signing session at the club store on Monday, according to The Telegraph.
A player who is actively seeking to play for your club is a dream situation for City.
Having never played in the Champions League, the Belgian would be chomping at the bit to perform and impress, exactly the kind of attitude that would have served the Manchester club in their last two disastrous Champions League campaigns.
Fellaini Is Already Used to the Premier League
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Man City have made a few expensive mistakes in recent memory in the transfer market, most notably Jo and Robinho. Talented? Yes. Hell, Robinho even how he played lived up the hype in patches. But could either of them hack the pace, aggression and intensity of the Premier League long-term and justify their salaries to City's boardroom? Nope.
Fellaini has honed his talents in the league for the last four-and-a-half seasons and has excelled. It was people like Marouane that Robinho feared, indeed he is one of the most aggressive players out there.
He is at an excellent age, 25, with experience behind him, but also, young enough to have a long-standing impact upon the side.
And adapting to life in Manchester would be easy; because he, um, already lives in Manchester!
“I am living in Manchester now, because in Liverpool, the women were crawling for me," Fellaini said. “It was too much." (via Goal.com)
Perhaps he could move back to Liverpool, when the Mancs start "crawling" for him. Or perhaps not.
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"Price? Why would that make Fellaini a perfect signing for Man City? They don't care about spending money- they're richer than Rockefeller," I hear you say.
Whilst that is completely true—Sheikh Mansour's brother actually owns the Chrysler building (via The Mirror)—but those pesky (and imminent) financial fair-play regulations means that City are going to have to keep an eye on their outgoings.
Not that Fellaini would come for pennies, with his release clause reportedly around £23 million, according to The Telegraph. But genuine class in central midfield costs a lot more these days: Javi Martínez to Bayern Munich, Axel Witsel to Zenit St Petersburg and Luka Modrić to Real Madrid all cost £32 million each.
Combine that with the fact that City will be paying a premium both for the fact they are buying from another English club (and just the fact that they are Manchester City), and suddenly, Marouane is looking like a bargain.
Another factor still, Everton boss David Moyes recently expressed an interest in re-signing Joleon Lescott.
If Joleon wanted to come back - if I thought we needed him - I'd be delighted to have him back. If he was available he'd be someone I'd maybe show an interest in. (via Sky Sports)
In a part-exchange deal, re-couping some of Lescott's transfer fee ahead of his contract expiring at the end of next season would suit Man City too, not to mention getting his £90,000 a week wages off the books.
I can't decide what's scarier: a midfield duo of Marouane Fellaini and Yaya Touré bearing down on me trying to get the ball or Aleksandar Kolarov singing me a Christmas carol
Fellaini is funny. Deal with it. And his tackling aside, he seems like a nice bloke.
But gelling with your teammates off the field is often vital to how you perform on it. Fellaini already has friends at the club—his would-be captain is a compatriot and friend Vincent Kompany, with which he already has a rapport with.
The atmosphere at the club looks buoyant, and the facilities are certainly enticing for Fellaini. The Man City YouTube Channel is the best official club channel around for both laughs and genuine insights into the club, going behind the scenes at training and matches, which is something all the players embrace.
Yes the Harlem Shake is getting tiresome, but City's effort isn't half bad (on the YouTube Channel), and watching Joe Hart (black Spiderman on the right) losing it will raise a smile. Imagine if you stick Fellaini's hair on any/all of them...suddenly that's comedy gold.
At this moment, the above atmosphere seems worlds away from refusing to even live in and around the city in which Fellaini currently plays or refusing to go to a signing trip in the club shop. A transfer beckons—my money would be on the Belgian's best choice being Manchester City.
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