In keeping with Everton’s transfer policy of selling players on for a profit after seeing them reach their peak, Marouane Fellaini’s prolific 2012-13 season at Goodison Park looks likely to be his last in the blue of Everton.
The Belgian midfielder has been a consistent source of success under David Moyes, but the rising rate in transfer speculation would appear to be reaching its peak ahead of the summer transfer window.
The Metro recently reported that Fellaini is likely to be sold this summer alongside fellow Everton standout Leighton Baines in a bid to raise funds for some moves of their own.
With interest in his signature at an all-time high, the following slides consider just where Fellaini might head should he leave Merseyside in 2013, in order from least to most likely.
Given the pedigree of clubs being linked with the Belgian, there’s really only one club in Ligue 1 that could realistically compete for the signature of Marouane Fellaini: Paris Saint-Germain.
It was speculated that the Parisian outfit would make their move for the midfielder back in January after The Guardian reported that Fellaini was ready to leave his current Premier League surroundings.
Having splashed the cash on other big-name buys of late, Fellaini would undoubtedly ease the responsibility placed on his shoulders individually if he was to join the star-studded cast at Parc des Princes.
The 25-year-old would substantially beef up Carlo Ancelotti’s midfield ranks in the French capital, and his versatility would allow him to shift between attacking and defensive duties with ease.
With the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lucas Moura and Jeremy Menez ahead, Fellaini could adopt a role similar to that of Yaya Toure at Manchester City, roaming from the team’s engine room, breaking up attacks and helping out going forward where necessary.
After learning of a buyout clause inserted into Fellaini’s current contract, Arsenal rose as one of the sides looking interested in the possibility of signing the star at the beginning of the year (via Daily Mail).
According to the clause, a Champions League team can purchase the midfielder for £22 million. However, therein lies the problem as Arsenal teeter on the verge of not qualifying for the competition for the first time in 14 seasons.
It’s no secret that some within the Arsenal fraternity feel the club lack a sense of star power within their squad at times, and Fellaini’s acquisition would certainly go some way to dissuading such thoughts.
With Jack Wilshere again sidelined and Mikel Arteta aging into a more defensive role, Everton’s superstar could smoothly slip into the centre of Arsenal’s midfield, providing an outlet the Gunners haven’t known for some time.
Arteta, Fellaini’s ex-Everton teammate, was recently quoted by the Telegraph as saying that Fellaini has come on magnificently in recent seasons and is nowhere near the player he was upon his Goodison Park departure.
Obviously, Fellaini’s versatility would give him the right to push forward as and when the squad might need it, but with Santi Cazorla flourishing in a variation of the "trequartista" role at the moment, competition would be rife.
Despite the wealth of midfield talent already residing at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid are reported by the Daily Mail as ready to compete for the signing of Marouane Fellaini in the coming months.
Playing a similar 4-2-3-1 formation to David Moyes’ Everton, it might not be an issue for the Belgian tactically, but the slightest doubt might remain as to whether Fellaini is quite ready to challenge for a starting spot under Jose Mourinho.
Wherever the malleable midfielder ends up, his ego isn’t likely going to settle for a place on the bench and competing with Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira certainly is a mountainous task to consider.
Although the Merengues’ vast resources means they’re able to deploy a steady rotation of their stars, Fellaini wouldn’t want to risk following in the footsteps of Luka Modric and Kaka, both former standouts to have fallen into obscurity slightly after moving to the Spanish capital.
With Ozil currently one of the finest No.10s in Europe, adopting the attacking position he has with Everton this season might be a tricky test for Fellaini, but his malleability means there’s a host of options on the table for him in Madrid.
Perhaps the team to be associated with Marouane Fellaini on the most consistent basis, Chelsea are once again grabbing the attention of one of the Premier League’s most sought-after assets.
The Metro alleged earlier in March that Fellaini’s summer exit from Goodison was imminent come the end of the season, and Chelsea would certainly have the means to challenge most others.
In terms of squad necessity, it may seem difficult to find where the lanky playmaker would fit in amongst the Blues’ three-man creative line of Juan Mata, Oscar and Fellaini's international compatriot, Eden Hazard.
As a result, it’s likely Fellaini would revert to his former role of holding midfielder and taking up the spot that looks likely to be vacated by Frank Lampard this summer.
A tough-tackling anchorman by nature, Fellaini’s recent exploits in attack would allow him to be a more extravagant quality than, say, John Obi Mikel or Ramires, balancing the side’s central partnership quite well.
With affording a transfer fee of above £20 million unlikely to be much of an issue for the West London club, Fellaini might swap the blue of one side for another should he choose to remain in the Premier League.
Manchester United are currently 15 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City, but the Premier League leaders might have an even more advantageous position were it not for the exploits of Marouane Fellaini on the opening day of the season.
The Belgian international was instrumental in Everton’s 1-0 victory over the Red Devils back at Goodison Park, and he is likely to have won over some Old Trafford admirers in what was the beginning of his meteoric rise this term.
The Mirror detailed United as being one of the clubs leading the hunt for Fellaini back in January, interested in triggering the supposed £22 million release clause in his contract.
Based on the midfielder’s traits, one could see why Fellaini is a player Sir Alex Ferguson might want to call one of his own.
Aggressive, physical and capable of great flair at times, the 25-year-old could be an ideal option to take up the box-to-box midfielder role that the Red Devils have been crying out for, for some time now.
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