Marouane Fellaini has emphasised that the ball was in Manchester United’s court when it came to contract negotiations, insisting Jose Mourinho’s desire to avoid selling him places him in a very strong position.
The Belgian’s contract expires at the end of the 2017/18 campaign and the club has made a number of offers which haven’t been satisfactory.
Mourinho stressed soon after Fellaini scored an injury time winner against Arsenal last weekend that he expected the 30-year-old to stay at the club.
And Fellaini, speaking to Sport Magazine, stressed that he was in a very strong position to receive a bumper financial package given Mourinho’s desire to keep him at the club.
“The entire staff is doing everything I can to stay,” he said. “Now I am in a strong position, especially since Mourinho has stated that he wants to keep me.”
“Last year I went to the coach and I said that I wanted a new contract. I then had a second meeting, but I will not ask it ten times. Afterwards I became important for the team … And a good player costs at least 50 million euros. The club knows that they went wrong there.”
“I would not have a problem with life in China. I love to discover other places and other cultures. And I will not go there alone. If I go, it’s with the family,” Fellaini said.
“I am now thirty years old, end of contract and negotiating with Manchester United. There are several clubs that show interest. I’m waiting for what’s going to happen.”
Fellaini’s next contract will be his last big one, which explains why he is keen to extract every single drop out of United, but the whole saga is indicative of a certain level of dysfunction among United chiefs.
The worst thing about this situation is not the way Fellaini is playing on Mourinho’s admiration of him – and, by extension, Ed Woodward’s willingness to support every decision in personnel made by the manager – to receive a healthy financial package.
It is the fact that he will receive it and that United, in turn, will only look to make one midfield signing in the summer when, really, they need two world class talents in the middle – another defensive midfield and a right sided midfielder who can go forward – to compete with the vitality of Pep Guardiola’s lineup.
Fellaini is a top player who has given everything for the club since 2013, often receiving little apart from abuse in response, but Old Trafford chiefs cannot afford to let his contract dominate their focus at the expense of missing out on players United absolutely need in order to improve next season.