Tom Cleverley to Be Odd Man out After Marouane Fellaini's Manchester United Move

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentSeptember 4, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Tom Cleverley of Manchester United controls the ball during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When David Moyes comes to pick his team to play Crystal Palace in just over a week's time, he'll finally have some decisions to make in midfield.

If he didn't know already, the new Manchester United manager has learned this week just how closely his every move is being watched. 

His first transfer window at Old Trafford threatened to descend into farce, but by the end of it he had filled a desperate need.

Marouane Fellaini might not have been his first choice, or the fans' pick, but a central midfielder was. 

The Belgian might look funny with his stretched frame and big hair, and Moyes might have paid over the odds. But he wanted a midfielder and in the end, he got one. 

His job now is to fit him in.

So far, Moyes has stuck with Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley. Playing once a week has allowed Moyes to be consistent in his team selection. And it's just as well with Anderson as the only other option.

But with Fellaini on board, that's changed. Moyes can use his new £27.5 million signing next to Carrick in a midfield two, or include Cleverley or Shinji Kagawa in a three-man midfield.

Fellaini can also play behind the striker, a role he filled occasionally at Everton under Moyes, but that position is more likely to be reserved for Wayne Rooney when he's recovered from a gashed head.

But if Moyes sticks to his 4-4-1-1, it's likely to be Cleverley who misses out. 

The 24-year-old performed well in the first two games against Swansea and Chelsea. But at Anfield, Liverpool highlighted a deficiency in midfield that when two teams are trading blows, United tend to get bloody.

In Fellaini, Moyes has bought muscle. He can play a bit too—Everton fans will miss watching him control the ball on his chest and bring others into the game—but he'll add a physical presence as well.

It's hard to see Yaya Toure bulldozing through United's midfield at the Etihad Stadium on September 22 with Fellaini in the way.

Even with added competition, Cleverley still has a big part to play this season. As Fellaini offers something different to Moyes, so too does Cleverley with his boundless energy and darting movement. For now, however, Fellaini is likely to ease him out onto the sidelines.