Manchester United’s hopes of offloading Marouane Fellaini to Napoli have been scuppered by the player’s ankle injury, which has terminated the Italian club’s interest in him.
With United’s dire need to reinforce in midfield likely to centre around negotiations for Juventus Arturo Vidal and AC Milan’s Nigel de Jong this week, Fellaini’s hopes of playing a future role are in serious doubt and Rafael Benitez’s Italian club believed they were in pole position to capitalise.
But the injury sustained in training by Fellaini last week has left Napoli concluding that the delay in knowing when Fellaini might fit into their side created an unreasonable element of risk for them – especially since the Belgian’s £100,000-a-week salary would also have made him an expensive loanee.
The Italian side had been in a hurry to take Fellaini into their ranks on a one-year deal, ahead of their challenging Champions League qualifying round against Athletic Bilbao. But by the end of last week, they were not even clear about how serious the 26-year-old’s injury might be. Van Gaal indicated on Friday that a scan would be required to establish that.
Fellaini is only willing to leave United if manager Louis van Gaal indicates he is surplus to requirement. His move to United was of bigger significance than has been widely appreciated. The player and his family considered the move to be a huge achievement for him. Fellaini struggled to establish himself last season and was seen as a symbol of the disastrous David Moyes tenure. But Fellaini does not consider Moyes’ departure to spell the end for him, despite the scepticism of many United fans.
With United’s spending in the past 12 months likely to reach nearly £220m before the summer transfer window closes, the club may be keen either to recoup some of their £27.5m outlay on Fellaini, or lose his wages. But their decision on his future is likely to be contingent on whether Vidal or de Jong arrive later this week.
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