Manchester United Transfer News: Champions Overpaid for Marouane Fellaini

Ben Blackmore@@Blackmore_BRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2013

CARDIFF, WALES - AUGUST 31:  Marouane Fellaini of Everton arrives at the stadium off the team coach ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Everton at Cardiff City Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Marouane Fellaini did not pay £4 million of his transfer fee on behalf of Manchester United, according to Everton’s communications director, Alan Myers.

Richard Tanner of the Express had reported that Fellaini sacrificed a £4 million loyalty bonus owed to him by Everton, in order to allow United to sign him for £23.5 million. Myers, however, confirmed to the contrary:

Richard Jolly of ESPNFC elaborates on the deal between the three parties, which was eventually tied up in the final hour of deadline day:

The midfielder had a £23.5 million release clause, which expired at the end of July and which United had opted not to activate. By negotiating in September instead, they ended up agreeing a £27.5 million fee.

However, after his transfer was ratified, reports emerged claiming that, by requesting a transfer and waiving loyalty bonuses supposedly worth £4 million, Fellaini had only cost United £23.5 million.

News that United did pay the full £27.5 million fee confirms the belief that they paid substantially over the required amount for a player who could have been secured for £23.5 million a little over a month earlier.

When those two figures are written in black and white, it provides tangible evidence that the Old Trafford club were far from an efficient machine during the summer window.

As Jolly notes, had United lodged a £23.5 million bid for Fellaini in July, Everton would have been powerless to stop him leaving.

More importantly, the champions would have saved £4 million and had the player in their squad for a horror start to the season that has seen them lose points to Chelsea and Liverpool.

The fact they waited until deadline day suggests one of two things. Either United were trying to achieve a deal below the £23.5 million clause—as displayed by their “insulting” £28 million offer for both Fellaini and Leighton Baines, or they had more desirable targets ahead of Fellaini.

In either scenario, they lost out.

It is also reported by Guillem Balague that United’s move for Ander Herrera fell through because they attempted to negotiate with arguably the most difficult club in Europe—Athletic Bilbao—over the course of less than 24 hours.

Athletic are notoriously hard to deal with courtesy of their Basque restriction, meaning they are loathe to allow Basque players to leave the club.

Once again, it was David Moyes and United who lost out, and now the club’s fans must wait and hope that their side are still in the title picture come January, when hopefully United’s hierarchy will have learned some serious lessons.