Everton FC: 5 Benefits to Marouane Fellaini's Potential Departure
Entering the final straight of this season's Premier League, attention naturally begins to turn to potential transfer scenarios set to play out over the summer.
Most of the attention at Everton is focused around David Moyes' immediate future, but away from the manager, Marouane Fellaini is sure to become an equally prominent subject of speculation.
After his controversial quotes last year, many envisage this being the last few months on Merseyside for the Belgian, with the lure of the Champions League too much to ignore any longer.
However, as negative as selling a marquee name may seem on the surface, here are five reasons Evertonians should not be too despondent about this possible move.
Provides Some Badly Needed Income
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First and foremost, for an impoverished, financially weary side such as Everton, the value of a bumper cheque—presumably in the region of £25 million—clearly provides a major boost.
With the Toffees' debt spiraling at close to £50 million, Fellaini's potential transfer fee would certainly ease some strained relations with Everton's bank, while staving off the need to sell any other players this summer.
While some of the fee would be needed to reduce the club's debt, a large proportion would then also be available to spend on strengthening the squad, something Everton's ageing roster badly needs.
In this scenario, the Toffees should look to mimic the approach taken following the sale of Wayne Rooney, when several of the players bought soon after are still performing for the club now.
Potential to Add Depth
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Marouane Fellaini is Everton's top earner, reportedly collecting wages of around £75,000 per week. By offloading his salary, the Toffees will have a chance to add two or three new faces.
Everton's squad is one of the thinnest in the Premier League, boasting an impressive first XI but with little in reserve to sustain the club through injuries and suspension.
As mentioned, it is also one of the oldest squads in the English top flight. With Fellaini's contract removed from the system, the Toffees could comfortably bring in two or three younger players on a fraction of Fellaini's income, adding layers to the squad without increasing the wage bill.
Another young prospect in a similar phase of development to John Stones, along with two more players perhaps more immediately capable of first-team action would seem ideal.
So Often a Distraction
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There is no escaping the fact that Marouane Fellaini has given some imperious performances in an Everton jersey, both as a powerhouse attacker and a ball-winning, defensive midfielder.
In both roles he's often the Toffees' most effective performer.
However, there have been times when his goals have glossed over some inconsistent play and his best contributions have frequently been punctuated by some unnecessary quotes, heightening the media speculation around his future.
If the Belgian himself hasn't been hinting at a desire to a move away from Everton, it's been his father or somebody else connected to him.
While his ability would be missed on the pitch, it will come as a slight relief to some fans to rid the club of the constant negative attention around Fellaini, exaggerated further by his patchy disciplinary record.
A Chance to Change the Style
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Again, while Marouane Fellaini's individual contributions have often grabbed the attention, his role on the field has become slightly detrimental to the team.
Everton now approach games relying almost entirely on the Belgian's production. If he's off his game, so too are the Toffees, as was very evident in the recent FA Cup defeat against Wigan.
Most of Everton's territory is earned by Fellaini, as the Toffees seek him out via the aerial route. If he is not winning the ball in the air and maintaining possession, then Everton are far more languid and laboured in their attack, often running out of ideas before reaching the final third.
Despite his goals this season, Fellaini has struggled during several games. Physical opponents have often managed to keep him quiet, with his goal return, at times masking these moments.
If the Belgian was to be sold, Everton would have a chance to reinvent their style and become a more cohesive unit that would be far more attractive on the eye.
Using a playmaker in his position would give Everton a slick, fluent offence, capable of more varied attacks. At the moment, if Fellaini misfires, the Toffees have a tendency to appear predictable and frustratingly disjointed.
Chance to Play to Jelavic
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As well as affecting his team's role, Fellaini's presence has been a visible hindrance to Nikica Jelavic, with the team sacrificing his strengths to play to the Belgian.
The Croatian striker thrives on a crafty passer playing behind him, threading through-balls past defenders for him to run on to, as Luka Modric often does for Croatia.
However, with Everton playing long to a deep-lying target man who has his back to Jelavic, his runs are often ignored, with Fellaini only linking up with the striker for two goals this season.
When Fellaini gets the ball, his aim is to bring it down and target a flank for the Toffees to exploit, while Leon Osman and Darron Gibson sit too deep behind Fellaini to regularly look for Jelavic and dissect defences.
Should Fellaini go, the Croatian would once again become Everton's key man in the final third, and—with a different type of player behind him—he would surely return to his potent form of last season.