Marouane Fellaini Struggling to Prove Man United Move Wasn't Doomed from Start

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentAugust 10, 2014

Manchester United's Maroune Fellaini during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

It's easy to say after the event, but there are plenty of Manchester United fans who'll tell you they weren't surprised that Marouane Fellaini's first season at Old Trafford ended in disaster.

In fact, it was so disappointing that the Belgian midfielder might not get a second.

Rafael Benitez, in quotes reported by David Lynch of the Manchester Evening News, revealed last week he's ready to take Fellaini to Napoli. Louis van Gaal is unlikely to stand in his way.

Fellaini is a Manchester United player, it does not depend on us, but it depends on them.

He is a great player, but he is at another team. It appears he is waiting for Van Gaal. We will have to wait.

Is he the right player? We have players that work very well, whilst it also depends on who leaves. It is not easy to name names.

What features in a midfielder am I after? Players who have the mindset to win every game, then we can start to talk about the technical quality.

With our same mentality, but with a little more quality.

You can argue that Fellaini's United career was doomed from the start. 

David Moyes encouraged links with a number of top-class midfielders last summer, but he ended up overpaying for Fellaini on deadline day. 

It didn't help that he came from Everton. It did little to shake the belief many United fans had that Moyes was a better fit at Goodison Park than he was at Old Trafford.

Fellaini, too, did little during the season to suggest he had the ability to be a United player. His cause wasn't helped by wrist and back injuries.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Fellaini did well in games against Crystal Palace, West Brom and West Ham in the second half of the season, but United players earn their money in far bigger games.

And against Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, games when a midfielder's technical ability is really tested, he looked out of his depth.

During his time at Everton, Fellaini often got the better of United. The opening game of the 2012-13 season is just one example. 

But that was usually when he was pushed further forward, behind a lone striker. It was from that position that he scored for Belgium against Algeria at the World Cup.

Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Yet in a squad that also includes Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj, that was never a realistic option at Old Trafford.

Deployed deeper in midfield by Moyes last season, Fellaini's touch and technique fell short when it really mattered.

Even with Napoli's interest, he might yet win a reprieve at United if Van Gaal can't find a replacement before the transfer deadline.

But if he does stay, he's got a lot to do before he proves his move from Everton wasn't doomed to fail from the start.