When I woke up on the last day of the transfer window last September, I turned on Sky Sports News and read that Everton had signed Marouane Fellaini for €15M. I was gutted as it seemed we had failed in signing someone in Joao Moutinho’s calibre. I remember that night, when the transfer window had closed, thinking to myself: “Oh no, this is going to be a long season.”
I did my research on Marouane. He was young, tall, talented at heading and was a Belgium international. YouTube showed how good he was in the air at heading. I asked my fellow Liverpudlians what their views were because he had played against Liverpool in a Champions League Qualifier with his past club Standard Liege. I got a positive response which was pleasing.
He never set the place alive when he arrived. I was expecting more of a €15M signing. In his first few games, he looked neat in passing and possession. He also gave a tall presence in the midfield which we needed. As the season went on, Marouane scored many vital goals for the Blues. Heading home a 90th minute winner against Bolton and another header against Manchester United which arguably was the turning point of our season.
However, there were negatives: Marouane seemed to ‘stroll’ around the pitch instead of ‘running’. Maybe this was the manner in which he played. It frustrated many, including me. It looked as though he wasn’t interested at times. Another negative was his poor discipline; he was picking up needless bookings which resulted in him being suspended for big games such as the two derbies. Questions were being asked whether he could even tackle as when he tackled an opponent he was getting penalised by the referee, and quite rightly so as he just couldn’t tackle in my eyes.
Marouane scored the vital goal against Middlesbrough which secured Everton’s place in this season’s FA Cup Semi-Final clash with Manchester United at Wembley but there was criticism towards Fellaini over the way he continued to ‘stroll’ around the pitch and still commit needless fouls. He picked up his game in the second half against Boro and overturned his poor first half display.
Overall, you have to take into account Marouane is only 21. He is still learning to speak English. The Belgium League is a lot different to the English Premier League and carrying a €15M price tag is added pressure. He has come under much criticism for some of his performances, perhaps understandably so, but that’s not helping him. He is only young and his game will improve massively over the next year. We all know it was a huge gamble from David Moyes but I’m sure it will pay off over time. I was amazed to hear some people suggesting we cash in on Fellaini. He has showed glimpses of what he can do; he just needs to do it consistently. Be patient.
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