On Sunday afternoon Sky Sports News (TV) reported that Arsenal were ‘privately confident’ of signing Maraoune Fellaini from Everton. They quickly removed it from their regular transfer round-up, whether that was to keep it private as they suggested remains to be seen. Well it’s not so private now is it Sky? We’re not sure how the TV station know this as they do not state a source – although they are probably working of the back of the infamous ‘Sky Sources’.
Two weeks ago Fresh Arsenal reported that Arsenal were in talks with Everton over Maraoune Fellaini and negotiations were ongoing. On Friday the London Evening Standard reported:
Arsene Wenger is prepared to break Arsenal’s club record transfer fee for the second time in a matter of days to sign Marouane Fellaini. The Gunners are closing in on a record £22million deal for Gonzalo Higuain and now the Arsenal manager is considering activating Fellaini’s £23m release clause at Everton.”
Maraoune Fellaini has a £23million release clause for ‘top 4’ Premier League clubs. Because of this clause Chelsea, Manchester Utd and Arsenal have been alerted to the players availability. Manchester United were early favourites due to David Moyes’ appointment at Old Trafford, but with Thaigo Alacantra expected to arrive the Manchester side may no longer deem a move for Fellaini essential. It is widely reported that the robust Belgian-born midfielder would command wages in the upwards of £80,000 per-week. Fellaini is currently the highest earner at Everton earning £70,000 per-week.
The 25-year-old Belgian was the leading scorer for Everton last season with 11 goals and finished second in the assists department directly setting up five goals during the season. As a powerful aerial presence and big helping hand on defence, Fellaini could add some much needed defensive grit to a midfield setup at Arsenal which is lacking height. This has come at a price at times for the current Everton man, as he committed the second most fouls of any player last season with 78 fouls in 31 appearances – just two fewer than Grant Holt of Norwich.
Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of Fellaini being made in a similar mould to Patrick Vieira and Abou Diaby – Wenger seems to have realised someone of that ilk is needed to compete again. The strong Belgian would add a different dimension to a – at times – very predictable Arsenal midfield. Arsene’s interest stretches back to when the club signed Mikel Arteta, before entering serious negotiations Arsene was hoping to sign his teammate Fellaini. On a sidenote, Mikel Arteta and Fellaini have been holidaying together in Marbella in the past week.
The Gunners have also been linked to Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender as an alternative – a player who holds a reported £12.2million buy-out clause in his contract.