David Moyes resigned to losing Marouane Fellaini if Everton fail to finish in top four

Manager accepts key men will always leave if he cannot win trophies or reach European Cup

Marouane Fellaini has said his piece with regards to his ambitions outside Goodison Park. But, should he want to leave Everton, then David Moyes will refuse to fight to the end to keep him.

With one irresistible shot and then a little back-flick, he had just turned Saturday's game against Sunderland that seemed lost with what Moyes called "his feather feet". However, the Everton manager was circumspect about the prospect of losing him.

Fellaini told the Belgian media last week that "I have seen everything at Everton and in January or at the end of the season I will turn to a new club or a new league." Chelsea head a list of suitors who may be prepared to double the £15m fee Everton paid Standard Liège in 2008.

But it is eight years since Wayne Rooney kicked his last football at Goodison Park and the club not only survived, they qualified for the Champions League the following season. There is, said Moyes, a greater sense of perspective about Everton now.

"I am not in the mood now to keep the fight going all the time because we have had to do this with a lot of players," said Moyes. "But Felli knows what I think and I think that more than anything he'd love to take Everton into the Champions League. But I think I have got to that stage at Everton where I say: 'Look, we have lost some really good players but I don't think it has stopped us progressing as a team.'

"In fact, people might say that Everton have lost good players but they have improved. We sold Joleon Lescott, we sold Mikel Arteta and, though we have felt really down when we lost those players, we have had to pick ourselves up and find others. The club will always be bigger than any player or manager and the players we have brought in are showing that."

What makes Fellaini so attractive is his physical presence, which undid Manchester United in the opening game of the season, but also his versatility. Moyes described him as "an old-fashioned No 8 who likes to get into the box". Against Sunderland on Saturday, he supported the lone striker, Nikica Jelavic, but he can equally fulfil the "Patrick Vieira role", patrolling in front of the back four.

"If you asked me where I think he will develop by the time he is 28 or 29, I'd say he might end up dropping back," said Moyes. "But because he is a threat, can take the ball on his chest and be used direct, he becomes someone who can be used in a lot of ways. He has got size but he has also got feather feet and great ball control.

"I was dead against him going and I am still dead against it. Don't think I am saying that people can come in and take my players but I have to realise that if I have top players and I can't give them trophies, cup finals or European football, I might have to accept what they are thinking."

And yet with Arsenal seizing up and Tottenham hobbled by inconsistencies, the great prize of the Champions League might be closer than Fellaini thinks. Since the competition opened up to clubs that had not actually won their own championship, it has taken an average of 65 points or 1.71 per game to qualify. On 1.82, Everton are ahead of schedule.

Star spotting: Four more beyond big boys

Breda Hangeland

The big Norwegian defender has been through storms of transfer speculation in his time and has come out the other end remaining a Fulham player. Past interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United has been deserved.

Leighton Baines

The England left-back has progressed every year since joining Everton from Wigan in 2007, again gaining interest from a host of top clubs. His speedy, clinical endeavour, along with his professional character, makes him one of the best full-backs in the league.

Youssouf Mulumbu

Signed from PSG in 2009 for only £175,000, Mulumbu has been the linchpin to Steve Clarke's successful campaign so far. The powerful, tireless West Bromwich midfielder has gained interest from Spurs and Liverpool in the past.

Ryan Shawcross

Rumoured to be on Manchester United's radar while his club try to pin him down in contract talks, Shawcross has proved himself to be indispensable to Stoke for five years. The 25-year-old ex-United trainee has yet to earn an England cap, however.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor