Marouane Fellaini clings to Manchester United dream as Napoli offer an escape route from vitriolic fans
The 26-year-old is seen as a totem of the disastrous David Moyes tenure at Old Trafford
Marouane Fellaini is desperate to stay and fight to resurrect his career at Manchester United, despite vitriol which included ironic cheering each time he touched the ball during the club’s 2-1 pre-season win over Valencia on Tuesday, and will only give up on Old Trafford if manager Louis van Gaal says he is surplus to requirements.
Van Gaal, meanwhile, may wish to expedite his attempts to sign a left-back as back up for £27m Luke Shaw after the former Southampton man was ruled out for up to a month with a hamstring strain.
The Independent understands that Fellaini’s move to United was of bigger significance than has been widely appreciated, both to the player and his family, some of whom openly wept when they learnt he had signed for one of the biggest clubs in world football.
The 26-year-old has struggled to establish himself since – although he scored the decisive goal against Valencia – and was seen as a totem of the disastrous David Moyes tenure. But the ready-made escape route that Rafael Benitez’s Napoli are offering is one Fellaini is not yet ready to commit himself to, because he considers the move to United the fulfilment of a lifetime’s ambition.
Napoli have reason to believe they are Fellaini’s top option if Van Gaal indicates he has no chance of a United future. The Italian side want to tie up the proposed loan move, as they would like to have Fellaini in place for their Champions League qualifier against Athletic Bilbao on 19 and 27 August. But it remains a waiting game.
Video: The latest transfer news
The type of loan deal which the Serie A side are seeking tends to come at the end of the transfer window, by which time United will know their playing resources for the first half of 2014-15. Napoli are yet to make the first move by making an official request to take the Belgian.
A loan deal to take Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva to Napoli is also proving less than straightforward, with the Brazilian believing there are conflicting messages from manager Brendan Rodgers about whether he is wanted at Anfield. He has privately resigned himself to the fact that his seven-year career on Merseyside is over. But the decisive moment would be Liverpool’s purchase of another midfielder, with targets still under consideration. Napoli would take both Leiva and Fellaini on loan, if opportunities open up.
Another potential departure from Merseyside to Serie A is Liverpool’s Uruguay defender Seb Coates. Sampdoria are interested in taking him as a replacement for the former Evertonian Shkodran Mustafi, who has joined Valencia.
United were pursuing the Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo as a back-up to Shaw even before he picked up his injury in training. But they remain pessimistic about the chances of securing Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria, despite a declaration from Paris Saint-Germain – a prime competitor for his services – that they cannot afford him.
United have had an interest in Di Maria all summer and have been aware of his availability but they do not appear any closer to bringing him in. Ajax also say they have received no communication from United about their Dutch defender Daley Blind.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Monaco match report: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal provides little consolation as Berbatov and Monaco stun Gunners
Fabio Cannavaro given jail sentence: World Cup winning captain gets 10-months for swimming in pool
Charlton sex tape: is the #sextratime Vine real or just another publicity stunt?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Financial Fair Play under threat: Brussels court case could potentially lead to rules being scrapped
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 Muslim women's rights campaigner writes heartfelt letter to girls thinking of joining Isis
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'