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Fellaini ? The Odd One Out?

By Joe Jennings :  16/02/2009 :  Comments (86) :

The signing of Marouane Fellaini on deadline day back in August raised a few eyebrows. It was a bolt from a blue that ended a summer of mismanagement and total ineptitude. It also sparked a great deal of confusion between Evertonians. Despite being told to ?Watch this space? amongst other things, it appeared Everton?s transfer kitty was non-existent. Bill, it seemed, continued to survive off handouts whilst telling supporters the club was still for sale to the right buyer.

It was strange then, to see the announcement of a record signing come fifteen minutes before the window slammed shut. Safe to say, nobody knew of Marouane Fellaini, barring the Evertonians who watched on as Standard Liege somehow succumbed to our neighbours in the qualifying stage of the Champions League, of which Fellaini was a part of.

On closer inspection, his performance was one of promise — splendour in fact. Only a real midfield maestro could keep Steven Gerrard quiet over two legs, right? Encouraged, YouTube was invaded by excited Blues and we found clips of our new bushy icon powering headers home against Belgian?s elite left, right and centre. Bearing in mind Fellaini considered himself a defensive midfielder in an early interview following inking a five-year deal, we could have been forgiven for believing he was the younger, enhanced version of Lee Carsley we desperately desired. We had shipped out the unglamorous Brummy for one of Europe?s up and coming talents.

The Britannia Stadium was the venue for Fellaini?s Everton debut. He lined up alongside fellow new boy Segundo Castillo in the middle of midfield. They say first impressions last, and Marouane?s wasn?t a particularly inspiring one. But we couldn?t judge him on his first game in English football, it would have been foolhardy at best and nitpicky at worst, surely? After all, he won the odd header and sprayed a few decent 10-yard balls, the makings of a good player appeared present, right?

Hull at the KC Stadium was Fellaini?s next outing in the Royal Blue. Barring a cross field ball to Phil Neville in the first half, the game completely bypassed our record buy and I think it?s fair to say a few started to wonder what the Belgian offered other than a daft barnet.

After an awful forty-five away at Blackburn in the cup — which in all fairness was the same for every Everton player — we prepared for ?Felli? to outwit, out battle and outclass Steven Gerrard for the third time in the space of a month as the Goodison derby approached. This would be the game when Fellaini would really stamp his mark on our team. The games to adapt had been and gone, a combustible Goodison atmosphere would spark the outwardly lethargic Belgian into life.

We would come away from this one and think ?Boy, he?s going to be some player?. Sadly, this eventuality failed to transpire. In fact, Fellaini was a point of ridicule to the filthy red hordes who looked on and laughed at what seemed to be a catastrophic error of judgment on David Moyes? part. A criminal waste of 15 million pounds. The seed of doubt and doom had been firmly planted.

Here we had a player that looked drastically out of his depth. But we were lumbered with him. Evertonians were divided, though. Some could see what others couldn?t, citing signs of a player that would dominate Premier League games in a few years time. Whilst the others simply commented on what they witnessed on the turf, an ill-equipped performer who offered more hindrance than help.

Manchester United were the next Goodison visitors, and the feelings of impending doom and despondency engulfed what was then a dejected and downbeat Everton fan base. Devoid of passion and with the tactical awareness of Haig at the Somme, Everton had looked clueless on the turf and we clung to hope rather than expectation prior to kick off. After being treated to a first-half footballing lesson, Phil Neville decided to qualify himself as an Evertonian in the second-half with a lunge on Cristiano Ronaldo that sparked what was a Goodison library into a raucous bear pit.

Fellaini seemed to wake up from his hibernation. He began to battle and fight for the Everton cause. Everton were in the ascendancy and the Belgian rose highest from a Phil Neville cross to power home past Edwin van der Sar to send Goodison Park into scenes bordering on delirium. A kiss of the tower didn?t harm Fellaini?s appeal to the Everton faithful. Maybe it was a turning point.

It certainly seemed that way as Jonny-on-the-spot ?Felli? netted a last-gasp winner at the Reebok Stadium just four days later. We were beginning to see some sort of return on the unorthodox Screech look-alike. I was encouraged.

The performances were improving and Fellaini seemed to be finally bedding in. No strikers available and just Cahill and Fellaini to rely upon, we can safely say the Belgian delivered. Yet I still retained an uncertainty as to what he was actually bought for, because he certainly wasn?t a defensive midfielder. And if he was, he shouldn?t be have been anywhere near our side, because his positional sense was poor and his speed left a lot to be desired. Add into the mix an inability to tackle and a tendency to give away needless, petulant fouls and the hallmarks certainly didn?t point towards a powerhouse protector.

Now I ask, with the emergence of Jack Rodwell and the prospect of a fully-fit squad come pre-season, where does Marouane Fellaini fit into our plans? If he isn?t a defensive midfielder then why did we sign him, you really do have to ask. The general consensus now seems to be that Fellaini is a long-term replacement for Tim Cahill. We had no urgent need for a Tim Cahill back-up who was not on the same level in terms of passion, mobility or aggression. Call me crazy, but Everton are not a club able to splash out such a huge figure on someone we ?hope? will develop in a few years. And what, I ask, if he doesn?t develop? It?s not even worth contemplating as far as I?m concerned. As for the Cahill comparison, I think it?s an insult to our Aussie talisman to mention the two in the same breath, I really do.

Marouane Fellaini is a decent player, who I hope and believe will improve, but not to the sum of 15 million pounds, whatever way you look at it and through whatever haze of bias you opt to select. He can be very effective and at times cause havoc, but the performances against Bolton and Aston Villa verify my belief that he unbalances our side. There are those who regurgitate the initial payment made to Liege and the instalments to be made in the future, this I believe, is a joke of an excuse to mitigate what was the wrong signing for a massive fee.

Ask yourself, with a fully-fit squad, where does he fit in? The simple answer is he doesn?t. Is he anywhere near as effective as Cahill at what Tim does? No. He is too slow, gawky and sluggish for that, not forgetting positionally naïve. To play in central midfield in the Premier League you need to have at least some of what Fellaini hasn?t. I?m concerned.

That concern has only expanded after witnessing the rapid development of Jack Rodwell, who offered a masterclass of how to operate in the middle of midfield against an experienced Aston Villa outfit - at the tender age of 17. The display was an obvious sign of development and a reminder that in Rodwell, here we have a player destined for the very top of the game, I really do believe that. The pending five-year deal he looks set to ink is the cherry on the top at what is a great time to be an Evertonian.

We all expected an immediate return upon our investment, I don?t really consider this idiotic or stupid, most football fans would given such a hefty fee. For that money we should have been signing a player to come in and make an instant, silver service impact on what was a struggling side — a real top level performer. To suggest otherwise is to make excuses and mitigate the consequences of having, in all honesty, the wrong player for a record purchase. A wrong player who truthfully, in our heart of hearts, doesn?t fit in.

Reader Comments

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Mark Stone
1   Posted 17/02/2009 at 06:36:32

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I like him
Tony Andrews
2   Posted 17/02/2009 at 06:43:04

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I like him too
Jason Lam
3   Posted 17/02/2009 at 06:56:49

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I like him three
Neil Pearse
4   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:02:12

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Notice that Moyes after Villa was talking about "Rodwell who is only 17 and Fellaini who is only 20..." Add in Gosling, and I think he may have rather longer term plans for our midfield than who exactly will play in the next game. And Fellaini was not bought as Cahill?s understudy, so forget that.

Stop worrying about the fee, which is now irrelevant (we have him), and for sure didn?t involve a £15M cash payment. Anyway, Fellaini is an international with a very good reputation in the game, so the chances are we could recoup most of our money if we really wanted to.

Anyway, you need a squad of at least 7 or 8 decent midfielders to compete today. And anyway ? once Moyes has worked on him for a season, and ironed out some of the weaknesses you mention Joe ? Marouane is going to be just great.
Dennis Karanikolopoulos
5   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:14:15

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I think you?re all right. We don?t know exactly which position he was bought for. He WAS a good buy, good player. He IS one for the future. He probably WON?T fit into our best 11.
Stephen Foster
6   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:20:44

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I feel I have to mention he has been playing with an injury in the last two appearances. Remember Arteta when he played with injections? He was a shadow of his normal self.

Also. he provides an aspect which no other midfielder at everton provides. That is a physical presence. Everton have an extremely light weight midfield, which was a real problem when we had penuts, Osman, Cahill, and Arteta in the same team.

I can definately see a very important role for him in both our short- and long-term future.
Michael Hunt
7   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:05:47

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The Big Fella is a young, developing, huge talent, still learning to communicate to his team mates. The huge price tag was not his fault and he has shown real signs of becoming a collosus. The emergence of Rodwell can be good news for them both, I think Moyes could use the both e.g. approx 50% of the time each, to help bring them develop and bring them through without too much pressure or burn out risk.

If I had to pick one though.... Jack Rodwell every time!!! JR has been at Everton for more than half his life already, he is from a good local family and is steeped in the Everton Way, a true blue through and through. JR has Class that money can not buy!

Rodwell is head and shoulders above his peers and I really think it is not ridiculous to think he could pass David Beckham?s England record caps quite easily (and if his England teammates where as good as him a few World Cup winners medals as well!)

IF Everton are good enough for the player Jack Rodwell to stay at Everton aged 26 then I believe we and he will have quite a collection of silverware!

Optimistic??? Youbetcha.....NURSE!!!

Øystein Lemvik
8   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:44:07

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I remember that Moyes was asked about his position once, and responded that no, Fellaini was, to his mind, a box-to-box midfielder. Castillo (who I believe we’ll never see again come June) was the Cars replacement.

What I’m saying is if JR grows to be a formidable DM, that won’t affect Fellaini (in Moyes’ eyes), ’cause that’s not his position.
Steve Pendleton
9   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:44:24

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The kid is raw and talented. At the tender age of 21 the expectations, as a result of the transfer sum, is too high at the moment.

Cut the kid some slack and give him time. Just feels like yesterday that someone wrote an article discussing how we would fit Tim Cahill into the line-up when we had most of our players available at the start of the year. What a joke.

One would think Moyes will adapt a playing style that evolves around the better players in the line-up. One would assume that Fellaini will be one of those better players to build team around.
Paul Gladwell
10   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:53:13

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Firstly it?s a squad game we need more than a good first 11 and as soon as someone has a bad run (Lescott and Cahill to name two) people come on here saying it?s time to get shut and sell them.

Fellaini is a kid and a very good one, I watched him close against Arsenal the other week, he was top draw, he never wasted a ball, his hold up play with his feet and chest was similar to Sharp and he scores goals. It?s very funny everyone was gutted when he was banned and never had much hope of beating the shite, now a couple of wins without him and people are questioning him. I honestly believe next season this lad will be immense, when and where he plays is down to Moyes, but it?s the competition for places we need and what brings success.

Nick Entwistle
11   Posted 17/02/2009 at 07:58:43

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A bit harsh on the guy. Ok, for £15m we could have bought 6 Cahills but the price tag is down to Everton and Liege. In three years he?ll be at the top of his game and like Drogba eventually proved, he?ll be a snip at that price.
Liam Reilly
12   Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:07:29

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Before the Shite & Villa games it was generally believed that JR was not there yet, but was one for the future and we would do well to get anything without Fellaini.
Now, a couple of games later, Fellaini doesn’t cut it and wouldn’t get into our first team whilst JR will be world class and outcap Beckham. We are indeed fickle.
IMO the most important target at the moment is getting 3 points at the Toon without Tiny.
Neil Pickering
13   Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:09:01

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Great analysis, Joe, I completely agree with everything you said. I like you think he will improve, but the main asset you need to play in a Premier League midfield is athletisim, and in my opinion ?Felli? lacks this; he?s not agile enough.

Jack Rodwell ? now thats a proper midfielder, and one I would have been happy to pay £15 mil for; pure talent and ability, with a maturity that belies his years.
Michael Hunt
14   Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:31:46

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Liam, JR has for me always exuded class and shown huge potential (that he is just starting to realise).

Outcap Beckham? Very very optimistic at this embrionic stage of his career, but I truly believe it is possible. Fickle? NO! Excited? YES!

One game at a time though and this team ain’t there yet...but it is potentially on its way UP...bring on the barcodes!
Lori Fekete
15   Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:15:16

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I agree with all the above posts. Cut the kid some slack. He came in when we were awful (without the pre-season getting to know you), couldn?t speak the lingo and into the best and fastest league in the world. I?m sure (well hope) he?ll be alot more settled next year.

Jack Rodwell looks a class act, but we need as many class players as we can, when was the last time we had a full a squad to choose from? The price tag was inflated because Liege were desperate to keep hold of him, and we left it till the 11th hour because we spent the whole summer chasing that Portugese fella we could never afford.

Liam Reilly
16   Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:39:02

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Michael; Believe me, I hope Rodwell does become the player we all believe he can be and I hope he achieves it at Everton.

All I am saying is we shouldn?t over burden him with talk of greatness until he has had a decent bedding in period. He?s going to make mistakes, like he did earlier in the season and I think opinions on this site can change in an instant.

All I?m saying is that it?s important to keep his age in perspective and that of Fellaini, who I also think will be a huge asset to the club.

Leighton Cooper
17   Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:20:37

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A few weeks back, everyone was cusing Moyes for not taking Fellaini off at half time against Hull. Many doubting how we were going to get through the 2 derby matches without him. A winning streak later, with him not in the side, and all of a sudden he isn't quite good enough for us anymore??
Tim Wardrop
18   Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:51:04

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Having been to the Stoke and Hull games I too had the same concerns at the start of the season about Fellaini as Joe did. But for me the turning point for him was against Man Utd at home. Most probably won’t remember it, but near the start of the second half (before his goal) he chased three United defenders, harrying them in possession, forced a back pass to van der Sar, which he chased down and forced VDS into conceding a throw in. The Gwladys Street roared in approval and it seemed as though the penny had dropped - that he had to work hard and show passion and commitment in order to do well in this league and at this club. Since that moment he has been up there with Cahill and Arteta as our most effective attacking players.

With regards to Rodwell - let’s get realistic: the boy has done very well in the last two games. But better than Fellaini? Not yet, surely! In my eyes our best XI has a five man midfield of (right to left) Osman, Fellaini, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar, although I really think Ossie should be fearing for his place. People forget that Arteta is at his most effective in deep positions, where he starts attacks; he’s never been a "number 10". With Fellaini alongside him as the powerhouse, box-to-box player, plus Cahill’s tremendous workrate in front of the two of them I think this gives us enough balance in the midfield.

Perhaps in some games we might need a Neville or a Rodwell in there for a bit more protection, but that central midfield trio (behind the Yak ideally) would be a fantastic combination in my eyes.
Michael Hunt
19   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:05:56

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Liam, Spot on, though I hope that TW mailbag is under the radar of the media hype monkeys and probably not widely viewed by Everton players... well, I effin-well hope not when the brickbats are flying!
Bernt Hellman
20   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:04:58

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Fellaini is a very good young player with huge potential. If he had been the finished product then £15m would not have been enough. If he keeps developing (he should peak in 5 years or so!) then we will all be embarrased of this discussion. Shrewd Moysiah buy; baring no injuries.
Chris March
21   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:17:28

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Rodwell is an exceptional talent and is without doubt full of promise but he won’t be a regular this season and probably not next season either. Moyes will treat his development with care as we don’t want to see a young player who could reach the top burn himself out or succumb to injuries at any early age.

To suggest that there is no place for Fellaini in the team is shortsighted, yes he’s taken time to adapt to the premier league but at 21 time is very much on his side. If he carries on progressing then we will have a very good player in our team. His position? I’d see him as a proper central midfielder, not defensive nor attacking but a bit of both. He has a good touch, can pass the ball and at the start of our current run was very important in helping keep the team ticking over with short sharp passes.

If you don’t rate him Joe then fair enough but don’t write him off because we’ve won a couple of games without him and a young 17 had one excellent game.
Blair Johnson
22   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:29:07

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Just count up how many points he?s earned us by popping up in the box, glancing his huge afro onto a cross and nicking a goal. We lack height in midfield... Osman, Pienaar, Arteta, Neville are all midgets ... so the ?Fella and Cahill are worth their weight in gold. We need him now especially with injuries and suspensions continuing to rise ... he?ll be picked if he?s fit ? no doubt.
Graham Holliday
23   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:24:56

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Why does the emergence of Rodwell make this an even worse buy?

Admittedly, I think Moyes might have been able to spend the money on more sensible targets, but the emergence of Rodwell doesn’t make Fellaini any worse does he?

To be honest, I’m looking at the centre of our midfield thinking... Arteta (26), Fellaini (21), Rodwell (17). What a prospect for the next 5+ years...

Now if only we can sign a decent winger or two...

With Chelsea and Arsenal in apparent meltdown, we’re nicely in place to make a real run at them in the coming few seasons...
Connor Rohrer
24   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:31:21

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Some people have been saying this ever since he joined, I think Joe makes a lot of valid points.

I like Fellaini, I think he?s a good player and can be very effective but you have to be realistic. He looked bog average in the middle and only started to look promising when he moved into a more advanced position, behind the striker. There he gives us an outlet, he?s good with his back to goal and we can use his aerial ability to full effect.

In the middle it?s a different story, the lad is slower than Osman, he?s immobile. And whilst slow players can make up for there lack of speed with hard work and tenacity Fellaini doesn?t do that, he isn?t that type of player. Central midfield is a demanding position and you need to be able to move, unless he learns how to run he won?t have a future in that position.

That?s one thing, another is the fact that Mikel Arteta is now playing in the middle and is the main man, I don?t care what anyone says. He?s the player we should be building the team around. Playing Arteta alongside Fellaini wouldn?t compliment the team, Arteta would have to sit and be very disciplined. He?s very capable of doing that but it?s not using him to full effect, he needs a bit of freedom.

Realistically we should be looking for an athletic central midfielder to compliment Arteta, Rodwell could potentially be that but it?s too early to say. If Rodwell?s not ready then that?s then we need someone in that mould, someone strong, mobile and athletic.

Fellaini is better suited to Cahill?s position, just behind the striker. Cahill still has another few years left in him and is in terrific form. Either he takes over from him or Moyes reverts to a 4-3-2-1 or a 4-3-3 so he can play alongside a defensive midfielder and a playmaker.

It?ll be interesting to see, I hope what I say is wrong, it very much could be but that?s how I see it at the moment. Especially with a fully fit squad.
John Maxwell
25   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:52:14

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Someone posted on here when we were doing well with our 4-4-2 format that we should sell Cahill ??!!

Why do people want to shut out players when they think things are perfect with the current team.. ??

Two good wins in a row... plenty of hard work left to be made by the squad not the current 11.
Matthew Cheng
26   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:51:37

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I like him. He will be our box-to-box central midfielder with a physical presence in coming seasons!
Alan Clarke
27   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:40:51

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Paul Gladwell makes the best point.

Joe Jennings is only looking at us having just the 11 places available for the whole season. To compete in a season you need a squad. Ask a group of Man U fans what their preferred formation is and who their best starting XI is and I bet none of them agree. This is because they have a squad of quality players. The best 11 may vary from game to game depending on who you’re playing. Too many times, Evertonians on this site have complained about Moyes’ one dimensional tactics and his lack of a plan B. Now it seems we have some semblence of a squad with different options in it, and we’ve got people moaning about one of our players being a spare part! How many times has Moyes even had a full squad to choose from this season?

Fellaini’s contribution has been priceless and he has easily shown enough this season to prove he is quality. I think he is an unlikely target to pick on, Joe.
James Bowman
28   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:40:26

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Funny really, the question I?ve been pondering is if... and hopefully at some point, we have Jo, the Yak, Cahill and Saha fully fit, would we start playing 3 up front? Of course there?s young Vic to throw into the mix and people have been equally tough on him in recent weeks, still very young but just as much chance of improvement as Fellaini. So if you have 3 up front, who are your midfielders??...

This I believe is where our Belgium comes in. Osman would not be able to cut it in a 3 man midfield IMO, Arteta surely would be a must and could you leave Cahill on the bench? Which 3 up front??... who knows!! I would probably say Saha on the left, simply because he is great with both feet (when working), the Yak surely in the middle... with Jo on the right? Cahill ghosting in from midfield... Arteta with the ammo... and our man Fellaini, hopefully becoming the next Phil Nevile?

Either way, a great headache to have... lets hope we have it soon!!! COYB!!!
Phil Bellis
29   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:12:38

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It is undisputed fact that Everton Football Club paid £15 million pounds up front in one payment for the big lad. None of this 3.5 million Euros now, 2 million Euros in June 09 and the rest on the drip, depending on future success, Ebay dealings and lottery wins

Now that’s cleared up, I have a wonderful investment opportunity to offer; having recently acquired the Runcorn Bridge...
Harry Charles
30   Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:48:56

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Let's remember Jack Rodwell is normally a centre half, its a bit like asking Lescott to play left back when he is a centre-half. Fellaini is a very skillful player who can also play in a number of places, Gosling is a young player who can play in a number of places, Anichebe is a young player who can play in two positions. Baxter, Jutkiewicz, Wallace and others coming off the conver belt... We should be singing Moyes's praises from the highest mountains.
Ciarán MacGiolla Eoin
31   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:06:29

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Good article... but it?s based on a flawed premise.. and that is the £15million transfer price.

>In my opinion, this is the main problem with Fellaini ? yes, we all scratched our heads when he said he was a defensive midfielder... but he?s quite clearly not.

If you look at him objectively without considering the price (which I think we either made up, or were robbed) ? then we have a very good box to box midfielder ? who is still learnign the game... has a good range of passing, and is on the same wavelength as Arteta...

He certainly doesn?t conflict with Rodwell, who will be taking Neville?s place in midfield in the long term. It?s just a guess, but I?m thinking that the re-emergence of Mountinho?s name at the end of the last window has clouded some people's vision? Is it that people are really suggesting that Fellaini wouldn?t fit in if Moutinho miraculously arrived here? Personally, I think it means that we don?t need him.

A central three of Rodwell, Arteta and Fellaini is quite a salivating prospect.... having Rodwell progress so well almost makes up for losing Manny from that DM position.
Timmy Mongiat
32   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:13:48

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This is actually hilarious! Examining his first few games in an Everton shirt and trying to base some conclusions about his ability on that? He has come from a completely different league and in view of his age as well he could be expected to take a season to settle in, but in reality it?s taken a far shorter period. How did Henry play when he first arrived? Or Vidic and Evra? Or countless other foreign talents that have become foundations from their respective teams?

This for me Joe is another article you?ve written in the heat of the moment with the euphoria of the recent villa victory in mind. Make no mistake, Fellaini is on a different level to Rodwell(who is only 17 still!) And he is a massive massive player for us. Just because we have played well in a couple of games in his absence doesn?t mean we don?t need him. It?s really amusing how we see the uproar after the hull game when we had apparently thrown away our chances against the reds according to most on here because fellaini had been suspended and how we don?t need him now! Fellaini is one of the most promising young midfielders in the world, he was before he joined us(many of us had actually heard of him before the Liverpool tie) and still is.

And one more thing! everton playing a 4-4-3 with three strikers? are you mad! Moyes will never start with three strikers, because he isn?t mad! If we want to get the best out of our team we should continue with a 4-5-1 as it?s with that formation that we are at our most impressive. With regards to our best midfield, at the moment its quite simple ? Arteta, Fellaini, Cahill, Neville, Pienaar and in a couple of years maybe rodwell or gosling will be ready to join the mix or another talent whom moyes has secured. With respect to Fellaini, he is a fantastic talent, and the fact that some are questioning his first team position is, although dubious, is still a mark of how good how our midfield is beginning to look. But he is a great talent, an amazing aerial threat and furthermore, has incredible hair.

Alasdair Mackay
33   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:32:30

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I share some of Joe’s concerns about Fellaini. There is no way he is a £15million midfielder. If we had to sell him now we would be lucky to get £6-8million.

I think some Evertomians have seen Felli drift out of matches, but this has predominantly been after he has been booked. The Goodison derby in the league is a prime example of this. He got booked early and was treading on eggshells for the rest of the match.

I would second some of the comments made on here about his role when he was signed. I clearly remember Moyes saying that he was more of a Cahill type player, rather than a Carsley. This has proved to be the case, where Moyes has played him. Cahill gets goals by floating unnoticed into the box and timing his runs well, Fellaini will get similar goals, but he couldn’t go unnoticed in the box if it was a mile wide, so he has to approach the position in a different way. I think Moyes sees the two players as two very different problems for defenders coming from attacking midfield. How do you combat Cahill and Fellaini, without losing any of your own tactical edge?

All that said, and admitting that Fellaini has qualities and defintiely brings something to the team and to the squad, I still don’t see him being worth £15million. His passing is good, but he lacks vision. His heading is good, but he does not use his stature to its full potential in midfield battles. He scores goals, but he does not create them as much as a £15million midfielder should.

I hope he does improve in a lot of areas, cause if he doesn’t we are going to make a huge loss.
Alan Kirwin
34   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:51:15

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Sorry mate, stupid article and wrong on so many fronts.

Contrary to your sweeping suggestion, we did not all expect an immediate return on our investment. Some of us saw this for what it is, the capture of a strong & coveted young talent.

I saw it as a young guy who has got great ability (seen to great effect against Liverpool twice), great presence and touch. I also saw it as a young man moving to a new country, not speaking the language and leaving family & friends behind. From the moment we captured him I saw him as being for the future. The price tag is irrelevant in this regard, it simply meant that we got him before someone else did.

I expect, and have always expected, Fellaini to start showing next year. He will be settled, learning the language, a good pre-season, be fit etc etc. I hadn't banked on him grabbing the winner in a few games and, as Moyes said, "carrying the team" for a bit. But he did. Oh yes, and he?s also been carrying quite an unpleasant injury of late that needs to heal.

Your article perfectly sums up the ridiculously fickle existence that most fans inhabit. Give the kid a break, look at the bigger picture and take comfort in the growth of a fantastic young & strong team. Marouane Fellaini is a key member of our squad and, I hope, will remain so for many years.
Paul Connell
35   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:19:25

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Its funny I didn't hear anyone critising or questioning Fellaini?s ability to ?fit in? before that great night against the shite. One injury affected first half and all of a sudden he?s a waste of money? Please, this just boarders on ridiculous.

Did he price himself at £15 million? Was he responsible for Everton pulling out the stops in the last minute?

I fully accept he?s a player still adapting to the style of play and culture but to suggest his price tag should some how mean he should be the finished article at 20 seems unrealistic.

Everyone is talking about Rodwell being excellent now but possibly world class in the future. I go along with this entirely. This means we will all have patience and watch the lads development without ridiculing him for any mistakes along the way.

Yet it seems through this article that the same patience will not apply to Felli just because we paid a fee? What the difference?

There's an argument that both Felli and Rodwell wont make the starting 11 with everyone fit. This is because Felli was physical presence and focal point upfront without any strikers and the emergence of Joe may well negate the need for him to play in that role. I still see Moyes's ideal pairing in the centre as Mikel and Neville and Cahill is indespenible behind the front man. As neither Felli or Rodwell are wide men this could lead them both dropping to the bench. If this happens does this mean Rodwell doesnt ?fit in? as well??

For me there is nothing negative about this, it just means we will have genuine options to change games in the run in. What a great position to be in.

There are flaws to his game but how many truly complete players do we have? The league is littered with examples of players who come in from foreign countries showed promise and developed into world class stars. The idea that Felli should not be afforded that time doesn't go along with any logical thinking. In the mean time he?s still a great addition and a genuine threat to opposition, the sooner we get him back the better.
Colin Evans
36   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:53:25

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Come on the boy is good and has done some great stuff this season, not least the goals he scored when we were doing less well then we are now. He?s not perfect ? I am thinking his tendency to jump into a tackle, mis-time it and get himself booked.

With the arrival of Jo (lets hope we can get him permananetly in the summer), the emergence of JR and Gosling etc. I am really optimistic about our squad. And we need a SQUAD to compete at the top of the Premier League ? 11 players won?t cut it in modern times.

Gary Hughes
37   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:40:48

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Some good points about Fellaini but don?t forget when he was booked against Hull the ground fell into despair at the thought of playing the RS without him such was his influence in previous games. The same arguement about being the odd one out can be made about a number of players Yakubu, Saha, Peinnar, Osman..... not to mention Jo.

The only certs to start are Arteta, Neville & Cahill (outside the back four that is). The days of a best XI are long gone & the fact is they can?t all play at once, but what we will have for the first time in a very long time (if ever) is a large strong squad of good players which can only be a good thing

Nick Dommett
38   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:57:18

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It is bloody ridiculous talking about getting rid of Fellaini right now. We always talk about needing a bigger squad to compensate for injuries, suspensions and being able to try for more than just the premiership and now we’re getting rid of players!

I would still put Fellaini in the first team. while Gosling and Rodwell have done well, no way are they going to be first team regulars for a while. and why do you think that he unbalances the team? Taking the team we put out againts Villa you replace Gosling with Piennar and Rodwell with Fellaini. the full backs are encouraged to get forward as much as possible with Neville drifting out right to help out when needed (like he did against Villa) and bobs you uncle!

Tony Waverleas
39   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:57:17

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??safe to say, nobody knew of Marouane Fellaini..? Erm, apart from David Moyes, like. And his opinion?s quite important, isn?t it?

??we all expected an immediate return upon our investment?? Is that right, Joe? It?s only a guess but maybe not everybody is as impatient as you appear to be.

Personally, given the circumstances of his arrival (last minute; never played in this league before; the language barrier; his new manager?s unsigned contract; the appalling atmosphere around the whole club, etc etc) then I?d say he?s actually delivered quite a lot.

If you don?t like him, Joe, then fine but at least wait until he?s had the benefit of a full Everton pre-season under his belt before your next essay.

Alternatively, try this as your next topic ? Victor played quite well on Sunday so let?s bin Yakubu as soon as he?s fit. Oh, and then you can complain about us having too small a squad.
Dan McKie
40   Posted 17/02/2009 at 11:45:19

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Fellaini should be in the first 11, no question in my mind. The good thing about the midfield on sunday was the constant interchange of positions (apart from Gosling who stuck to the left). When I heard the team on sunday, I had no idea how it was going to fit (I predicted Arteta out right but was wrong) but it worked, so there is no reason Fellaini couldnt replace whoever and do just as good a job. We also have no Cahill or Hibbert for Newcastle, so we should be glad we have a player like Fellaini to come in! Just a last point on Rodwell, I agree he looks good, but before the Villa game, he always seemed to need 15-20 mins to find his feet in games, and he also went missing early in the 2nd half when we were under the cosh on sunday.
JL Slap
41   Posted 17/02/2009 at 11:47:02

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We have been constantly bemoaning our lack of resouces as the reason we have not been able to progress on our previous two 5th place finishes, so it is fucking amazing that now we have a little bit of competition in one area of our ’squad’ and people want us to sell????

Turn it in mate, I know finances are tight but our priority should always be the team & surely knowing that the moment you have a bad game you can and prob will be replaced by a quality player makes us stronger? You only have to look at Leighton Baines to prove that, he knows that now Joey is fit if his form dips below the level he has set for himself then DM will have no hesitation in moving Lescott out there and slotting Yobo back in. Its because of this I think that Baines (on form) is one of the best 3 left backs in country along with Clichy of Arsenal & the money grabbing cockney rentboy Ashley Cole.

Stefan Tosev
42   Posted 17/02/2009 at 11:09:35

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Joke of a post ? ?For that money we should have been signing a player to come in and make an instant, silver service impact on what was a struggling side? ? if you really think that, you don?t have a clue about football. Ronaldo, Veron, Shevchenko, Nani, Anderson, Cantona, Bergkamp were stuggling in their first seasons and didn't make the instant impact and we are talking abou top, top player. There wasn?t any footballer at the time who would have made an immediate impact as we were struggling as a TEAM, there were too many unfit and missing players.

?he was the younger, enhanced version of Lee Carsley we desperately desired? ? he was never that and never will be ? Moyes stated from the day we bought him that he sees him as a box-to-box midfielder.

?the performances against Bolton and Aston Villa verify my belief that he unbalances our side.? ? speechless ? to judge our team balance based on our most recent 2 games; after your logic Jo, Saha, Yakubu, Pienaar, Osman, Vaughan and Yobo will be unbalancing the tam?!?!? This doesn?t verify anything at all ? the opposite Moyes stated that he is concerned about the balance of our midfield when Fellaini and Pienaar were missing.

?Now I ask, with the emergence of Jack Rodwell and the prospect of a fully-fit squad come pre-season, where does Marouane Fellaini fit into our plans?? Fellaini adds to our midfield height, power, goalscoring threat, he rarely gives the ball away, he is link-up play is outstanding and he has creative qualities.

Moreover, I believe that Cahill and Fellaini with Arteta behind are match for any central midfield in the League ? you have everything height, aggression, creativity, finesse, goals

??the emergence???? rapid development of Jack Rodwell?? there were too many false-downs over the years to judge player based only on 2-3 games ? Branch, Cadamarteri, Jeffers, Grant ? the list is endless, only 2 weeks ago a poster was slating Rodwell for being slow, uninterested and lacking positional sense. He may have been showing promises but he is far from ready to be regular and seeing how fickle some fans are (you included) all you need is 2-3 bad performances to shot his confidence down and brand him as a ?Championship standard?.

This is very poor written and poor thought article Joe ? the fans are always looking for someone to scapegoat; in the beginning of the season it were Neville and Lescott who was ?found out?, then it was Howard, then it was Arteta who was ?piss poor? and his set pieces couldn?t clear the first man, then it was Ciaran asking what is Cahill contributing to the team and what is his use of as a playmaker; Yobo is the latest casualty with many screaming to be sold. All of these including your article are knee-jerk reactions ? in order to have a good team we need quality players and squad depth, Fellaini is one of our best players and is currently struggling with injury, to slag him of just exposes you as part of the before mentioned pundits.
Mike Allison
43   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:19:42

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Early on this was the most sensible, intelligent and balanced thread I?ve read on here for a long time. I think Joe Jennings original article was extremely well considered, and makes some excellent points. To call it ridiculous is, well, ridiculous.

That isn?t to say I agree with him though. Most of the important points have been made in Fellaini?s defence; he?s a box-to-box player, not a defensive midfielder, the price tag was too high, but that?s not his fault, and most of all, he?s 20. Joe is also a little harsh about his actual ability.

The one thing that people seem to forget is the influence of coaches and managers. If you buy a 20-year-old you should expect to still have to teach him a thing or two. I?m willing to bet that Rooney and Ronaldo don?t just turn up at training and piss about, they listen to what they?re being taught. Fellaini has the attributes but needs coaching on how not to commit fouls and the mental aspect of taking control of a game.

Yes, £15M was too much for the player we?ve seen so far, but we can expect him to get better. The problem was the timing of the buy, why did we wait til the last minute, after he?d shown he could cut it against Liverpool and Gerrard in the Champions League qualifier?

Lynn Thorne
44   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:09:32

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Would just like to put my tuppence worth in. When we were in Liege we spoke to quite a few of their fans and all of them said that they were sorry to lose him, but it would take some time for him to ?settle in?, then he would be great for us.

I personally like him and agree with many others on here - you need more than 11 players and Moyes is still learning (and learning well) about changing things succesfully.

Robbie Muldoon
45   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:21:13

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When looking at Fellaini and forming an opinion on his worth to us, I don?t consider his huge transfer fee or daft barnet, I look at his contribution to a game.

He has scored some vital goals, but he has also had some absolute shockers. He had a nightmare against the Red Shite in the replay at Goodison (I was gutted he was banned for the first two, but on that evidence maybe it was best!).

I think Gosling will develop into a good squad player, a cut above Osman but not much more. Rodwell looks class, a far better prospect than Fellaini. If anything Fellaini is a decent player to have in the squad getting regular outings.

If we are to compete over a full season we need good depth and I think he provides it.
Andrew Laird
46   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:29:02

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Silly post, athough Rodwell has excelled in his last 2, yes 2 outings, he is not even 18-years-old yet! It is far too much to ask for him to be the saviour of our midfield! Fellaini is from BELGIUM, has played all of his career in the BELGIUM league and is currently learning English so he can communicate with his teammates and understand the tactical side of the team.

I honestly cannot remember a single player who has come from a different nation, joined a struggling team and managed to double his value which is in truth what the poster is suggesting. Unless we did sell him to Newcastle or Tottenham, you can guarantee that he would make £30million!
Children are the FUTURE.

Kevin Quinn
47   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:44:42

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Patrick Vieria was tall slow and gangly and he did ok for years in the Premier League. I think this post is a bit ott.
Neil Steele
48   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:04:36

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Another excellent, well thought out and balanced article Joe, well done.

Clearly, with the good form the "Moyes can do no wrong" brigade are out in force and it appears Mr Fellaini is wearing ?the emperors new clothes?!!!

He has made ricks before and shipped them out and, on a lesser scale, he?s made another here IMO. Clearly the lad isn't absolutely terrible but, for me, nor does he show ANY signs of being potential worldclass.

His ball skills are on the good side of average, his size is his main weapon but he is slow over the turf, a bit clumsy, and most of all seems to lack footballing and spacial intelligence.

Time will decide and nothing else but for me you are bang on, with a fully fit squad he just doesn?t fit in.

Those saying "its a squad game"...behave. EFC CANNOT adfford £15M, squad players... yet!!
Micky Norman
49   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:58:49

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It seems that any time we get a couple of decent results without one of our big name players there are people shouting " how will he fit in?". If we keep Jo how would Yak fit in? What will Vaughan have to do to get in the team? Cahill breaks a foot, " what will happen when Cahill is fit?" Where will Yobo fit into the excellent back four? The answer to all of these questions is the same. They fit into the SQUAD. Moyes has at last been able to put together a squad of players who can cope pretty well if one or two are out and its great that it’s also quite a young squad with players who should improve. That’s his job and it’s also his job to shuffle it when needed and to keep players happy when they don’t start. Just let him do it.
Micky Norman
50   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:19:03

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Does anyone really believe that we paid £15 mill straight up for Fellaini? With all the clauses they put in I reckon we’d have to win the Champions League three times and then some intergalactic tournament before Standard Liege see that sort of money.
Phil Bellis
51   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:32:02

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Spot on Mickey, perhaps I should have been less circumspect and just said £15 million up front? No chance ? 3.5 million Euros, more like.
Neill Xavier
52   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:05:40

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I think what Joe is missing here is that, if we had a fully-fit squad, Felli wouldn?t have played half the games he did. Unfortunately, we didn?t have the luxury of picking and choosing his games and, for that alone, I applaud him.

Regarding the fee: if, at this very moment, he was worth £15m, he?d cost £25m. Moyes knows that he can?t buy the finished article but, given his eye for potential (barring a few exceptions), he?s done pretty well.

Consider this: you?re lying in bed reading (or whatever), you get a call; it?s your boss at wherever it is you work now:

BOSS "Joe, you?re moving to Belgium next week for the next 5 years."

JOE "But, but..."

BOSS "No, Joe, you?re there. But don?t worry about it, you?ll be pushing a brush for the first few weeks then they?ll be giving you a few other tasks as you settle in. Pack your bags and come in tomorrow to pick your ticket up" Joe arrives in Brussels.

LE DAVIDE MOISE: "Bonjour, Joe. Enchanté. Laissez vos sacs là. Voici votre uniforme, vous êtes sur la réception aujourd?hui. Bon chance."

¿Entiende usted?

Robert Lum
53   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:49:52

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Woh...some pretty indepth views here. My only concern is and always are Moyes has not been spot on with record breaking signing. Many came and left. Those who stayed and performed remarkably are the players others hardly noticed at first.
Ben Dyson
54   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:45:41

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The Paragraph Pixies came and ate them...
Ben Dyson
55   Posted 17/02/2009 at 14:03:55

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We shouldn’t under-estimate the value of big hair in the modern game. £15m? Bargain...

Ben "Baldy" Dyson
Kevin Gillen
56   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:43:15

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I watched Fellaini in the match v Hull. My mate Mark Gretton, a Hull fan who writes for their fanzine agreed, Hull just couldn’t deal with him. I wrote a match report and commented on the Hull fans near me who were saying he’s the sort of kid who would do really well at Arsenal. I think the kid will become a legend if he stays free of injury. He was also top class against Villa in the game we lost 3-2. I am so pleased we have so many options now in the midfield and think we play better football with the 4-6-0 formation. Great thread though and good argument.
Ped Pearl
57   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:46:13

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Joe - I think you do make some valid points. However I think the ’problems’ relate to us now looking at a whole squad full of great potential.
Jo likes to play behind the striker - leaving room for the Yak - but then thats taking Cahills place. I wouldn’t personally play Tim in a central midfield of 2... With Mikel and Rodwell AND Felli and Neville there. Things are really looking good lads for the next few years.
We need to be looking at some pace on the wings. This board is evidence in itself that we are on the way up!!
Nick Murray
58   Posted 17/02/2009 at 14:29:57

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What I like about Fellaini is that he is a real FOOTBALLER - great technique, can pass, hold the ball up and has an eye for goal.
The only downside is his awful tackling - when he can’t get the ball it looks like he has to get the player instead I put this down to his inexpereince, and desire to do well, but he needs to channel it in the right direction.
Moyes will get him right, and in a year or two I think he will be one of the best players in the League.
Ken Buckley
59   Posted 17/02/2009 at 14:24:22

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Joe I think your artical is most premature.
To date we have seen Fellaini go through only three phases.
1.Coming into a makeshift team that had a horrible start not able to speak the language and certainly not knowing how any of the others played.
2.Filling in as a makeshift strikers second man.
3.getting injured and out of the team for sometime.
Non of the three can have given anyone,the manager and coaches included,any realistic idea of how he might eventually progress and fit in.
Perhaps best dealt with by filing under ’wait and see’ and Joe perhaps you could revisit 12 months from now and give us the benefit of you observations over the longer term.
Get well soon Fella.
Bernie Ashe
60   Posted 17/02/2009 at 15:25:10

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Total nonsense of a post.
As someone else mentioned, Patrick Vierra.
Also slow, gangly, lots of bookings early on in England. Since he has gone, how many times have we all heard "No steel in Arsenel’s team"?

As for the price, it ain’t his fault.
Ian Tunny
61   Posted 17/02/2009 at 16:30:33

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I think you will be proved wrong, like all the other doubters have been proved wrong over the years regarding Moyes signings. 9/10 Moyes gets it right, and I think he will be right again.

It is still early days to write him off and I have seen enough of him to think he will be a very important player in the future. He has a tall physical presence which was needed he hardly gives the ball away, mostly playing one- and two-touch football, and has surprised me a few time when getting out of sticky situations. Yes, he has a lot of rough edges but he?s a potential diamond in the making.

You ask the question, "Where does he fit in?" ? I think from next season he will replace Osman and, in the long term, Fellaini or Baxter will replace Cahill.

Si Kirwan
62   Posted 17/02/2009 at 17:30:47

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Totally agree and nearly penned an article identical to this. He offers nothing often hindering our team through cynical fouling. Shame we didnt bring in a young, rapid, skillful winger we desperately crave
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
63   Posted 17/02/2009 at 17:44:38

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I’ve been told the fee was £12.9m, not £15m and that we paid in the region of £3.5m up front, the rest on the drip. The jury is still out on whether is worth paying a club record fee for but we’ll see.
Dan Walshe
64   Posted 17/02/2009 at 18:32:28

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I don?t think any of us should judge Fellaini until he has had a full pre-season behind him at Everton. With all due respect the Belgian league is not the Premiership and he needs to be prepared for the league he will be playing in.

He was poor in the cup replay against the RS but he was playing up front and by all accounts wasn?t fully fit. One goal could be all important in the cup games to come and i don?t see anyone to match him aerially so he could be the secret yet.

Secondly, I don?t think it is much of a stretch to say that Rodwell must be the best 17-year-old in Britain. His performance in the cup replay against the RS was superb. The sooner he is signed to a long term deal the better. He is better off here than on the bench at one of the other clubs and in fairness to the lad he seems to know that.
Neil McKinney
65   Posted 17/02/2009 at 18:34:25

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Well, done Mickey for pointing it out and well done Lyndon for attempting to clarify what most have ignored. There is an assumption in many of the posts above that we stumped up £15M up front. What deal in the last 5 years has been everything up front, no clauses? If (as is probably the case) we have paid a smaller amount up front and the remainder depends on clauses like appearances, goals, achievements, then we will only have to pay them if he does well for us.

A lot of the opinions above start from that very base idea "is he worth £15M". Probably not yet, but seeing as we probably haven?t paid £15M yet, it?s fucking irrelevant.

Neil Steele ? "His ball skills are on the good side of average, his size is his main weapon but he is slow over the turf, a bit clumsy, and most of all seems to lack footballing and spacial intelligence." ? That is a very very harsh analysis

Si Kirwan ? "Shame we didn't bring in a young, rapid, skillful winger we desperately crave" ? Oh that old chestnut, the winger that we crave. Any suggestions? You have to play a certain way to use wingers. They tend to be luxury players and you can?t just buy one and slot him into an existing team, you have to play a certain formation with the right personnel. Get back to FM and buy yourself this mystery winger.

The jury will remain out on Fellaini, but some of the sweeping assumptions made in earlier posts are ott considering how much you have seen of the guy. Next season all eyes will be on him looking for an improvement, only then should we really begin to be critical IMO.

Gerry Western
66   Posted 17/02/2009 at 19:46:17

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Joe, everyone has a right to an opinion but I?m afraid I couldn?t disagree more with the content. I really do not see how Rodwell and Fellaini can be compared they are two totally different types of player.

As others have stated, Fellaini is very much a box-to-box midfielder whereas Rodwell?s real strength is in reading the game and breaking down the oppositions attacks but above all great composure and likes to keep things simple. Remarkable attributes for a lad of his age.

Fellaini is constantly looking to close down the opposition forcing them into errors and above all he is always available for the pass he holds the ball up better than anyone else in the team and is a huge asset going forward. What impresses me most is that he more than holds his own against the stronger teams. With the exception of our defenders and the truly outstanding Cahill, I?m not sure that can be said for the others who sometimes wilt in the face of the the SKY 4.

Fellaini gave us back our belief that we could play football on the ground and demands it of his team mates. I for one can?t wait for his return. He will I believe prove to be an outstanding acquisition. If anything I?d say Rodwell and Fellaini could potentially complement each other.

As others have rightly stated, if we are to seriously challenge the clubs above us, we are going to need strength in depth. For that reason, I struggle to understand the logic of your argument. The question I think that will be posed at some point is not whether we can sell rather will we be in a position to hold on to him.

Peter Hall
67   Posted 17/02/2009 at 22:11:35

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Good post, interesting. And beautifully out of date.

It?s a squad game now. Don?t worry about a player?s place in the team ? the team is different from week to week, from half to half, from one necessity to another. (Except when we can barely get eleven on the pitch.)

It?s the place in the squad that counts - and Fellaini is a key player offering huge options in our squad.

I admire Tim but I don?t believe for a minute we?d be lost without him. Arteta maybe.
Jim Potter
68   Posted 18/02/2009 at 07:49:39

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I?d have paid £16 mil for the hair alone. Put it down in midfield and it would cause panic.

The lad?s already looking good. Given time to mature, the confidence of knowing the English language and being able to communicate with the manager and his team mates, then we really could have a great player on our hands. All young players need time to develop.

I?d play Gosling before Pienaar (who is too lightweight for me, gives the ball away too easily, goes ?headless chicken? at times). Still think he?s ok, but Gosling is another great prospect.
Moyes is terrific.


Simon Church
69   Posted 18/02/2009 at 10:35:33

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Your tedious articles just get worse and you seem to just write for the sake of writing ignoring whether there is a valid point or not.

Fellaini has been, on the whole, good so far and a useful addition to the team and supporters drive me mad with knee-jerk reactions.

Lay off the lad and just him over the next couple of seasons.
Joe Jennings
70   Posted 18/02/2009 at 10:51:18

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FAO Simon Church..

Who said you have to read my articles? It?s personal choice. How about instead of following me around with your snidey ? if not moronic ? comments you actually read it properly.

As everyone else seems to recognise, the article has a point, a big one, if you can?t see that then that?s your problem.
Anthony Newell
71   Posted 18/02/2009 at 12:15:54

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At the risk of sounding trivial and to lighten up the mood, I think the lad could do himself a lot of favours by ditching the daft barnet for something less conspicuous and quietly going about his business, unnoticed. Since when did Everton players go in for ?showyness? like this? The last one?s I can remember were Beattie with that daft blonde bonce, and Xavier ? say no more.

The image of him being bollocked by Neville, whilst standing there with his beehive during the Derby replay was an enduring one for me. He was substituted soon after.

As other?s have said, I?m sure we?ll see a different player after a full pre-season and hopefully a fully shorn one!

PS and no, I?m not a hairdresser.
Simon Church
72   Posted 18/02/2009 at 13:51:35

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I have no doubt you are an accomplished writer although I wish you had more to write about rather than just taking silly threads from other sites and rewriting them on here. Judgeing by the reaction to your previous two offerings I would say I am not the only poster to think this.

I am sorry if it affends but it just seems that you love the sound of your own voice more than posting about what people are really interested in EFC.

I can see a midfield of Fellaini and Rodwell working well in the future and cant wait for the lad to prove his doubters wrong.
Jason Broome
73   Posted 18/02/2009 at 15:08:43

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Your analysis is justified, controversial and welcome. An honest (no bullshit) view is what this site is all about.

No footballer is the finished article at the age of 21. That is why they need coaching. I am sure Moyes has a plan for him which will only be achieved with patience, in time. His mentality and raw talent is not in question so I live in hope.

He is a Marco Materazzi in waiting and will get bigger, stronger, quicker and more aware in time. If not, he will go.

This will be remembered as his worst season in an Everton shirt because youngsters improve. Judging his Net Worth on a handful of appearances is simply short sighted.

I still believe that he was a Plan B signing to appease the fans after the comedy of errors which was our summer. But ask yourself? Would you rather he played for us or Liverpool!?

I know my answer? let?s get behind him? the Everton way!
Peter Howard
74   Posted 18/02/2009 at 16:21:21

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I remember thinking more-or-less the same when Manyoo paid that " enormous " fee for Roy Keane.
Steve Edwards
75   Posted 18/02/2009 at 17:36:35

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Joe - Not many agreeing with you on this one and that includes me also. I think he is a tremendous acquisition. I particularly made a point of watching him play against Hull and they just couldn’t handle him. I do see similarities between him and Patrick Viera and Viera was always in trouble with referees but what a player. Arsenal haven’t been the same since he left.

I must admit that I may have agreed with you at the start of the season but he’s settled in now and as a result I see him him as one of our most influential players. Just like other people have pointed out its a squad game and Fellaini give you options... he give you a bit of something different.
Kurt Knight
76   Posted 18/02/2009 at 19:55:21

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Joe, I like your articles but this one is off base. The last time "I cracked a bone in my back" I didn’t play 2 matches hence...

This guy has won games for us this year, plain and simple. He is tough and he will adjust to constant flaggings much like my young puppy will finally learn to quit chewing on everything in site. The fella isn’t even old enough to drink in the states.
John Schrempft
77   Posted 19/02/2009 at 03:32:23

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I?m just wondering how many of the contributors to this article have been abroad, got a job there and learned a new language. How long do you think you?d take to settle in, learn the local customs, drive on the other side of the road etc, etc? Would you feel confident and settled?

After all, Felli speaks fluent Arabic as well as French and now no doubt he?s picking up English as well. Give him time, he?s still young. He was willing to come to Everton and adapt to another playing style and a different life. I like him four or is it more?

Jonathan Clark
78   Posted 19/02/2009 at 12:50:13

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After reading this article, it's clear you know little about football, never mind Everton. You describe one of our brightest prospects as ?the odd one out? even though he has won us vital points this season, brought a much needed physical presence to our midfield and showed a lot of promise. If anyone is ?the odd one out? its our ?captain? Phil Neville, who looks lost everytime he steps onto a football pitch.
Greg Murphy
79   Posted 19/02/2009 at 17:56:40

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Great piece, Joe, no doubt; and the fact that you had to deconstruct Fellaini’s career so far into match-by-match installments (with this lad you could even separate out the ebb and flow of his performances into a minute-by-minute analysis) both supports and undermines your anxieties all at the same time (such a paradox and how very Fellaini!).

For there’s no doubting that in order to get your (entirely valid) point across you had to be so episodic simply because there have been so many versions of Marouane Fellaini thus far.

But that’s just the point: I simply don’t believe that there’s a single Evertonian out there who has yet figured this cat out entirely.

It was interesting in your phase-by-phase segments you managed to be so detailed as to include a cross-field pass at Stoke but ommitted the audible groans around Goodison versus Hull when he picked up that yellow.

As much as I haven’t yet figured the lad out, I know I was definitely of the view that we’d not only struggle against our brethren but further that Fellaini (not least due to his increasingly telepathic understanding with one Tim Cahill) had been one of the lynchpins of the remarkable pre-Christmas resurgence.

But, segmentally speaking, it now seems that somehow we’ve been time-transported back to the October criticisms of Fellaini on the basis of one lukewarm half-performance and we’re again questioning why we need him.

Yet, we spent all of last summer stressing the need for Everton to have strength in depth.

So what are we saying here: that when we’ve got a fully fit squad (don’t forget it wasn’t that long ago - in fact when we signed Fellaini - that we were generally wondering whether we’d ever see Cahill again...and don’t tell me you didn’t wince when he was helped off v Arsenal) that we’ll have competition for places?

Bring it on.

Hopefully we’ll be in a position next season to try and break into that top four, rectify a few things in the UEFA Cup (based on last night I’d love to draw Liege again, frankly!!), push as far as we can in the Carling and defend our FA Cup!

For that we’ll need a broad squad of talents; and that’s what I believe Moyes is stealthily ensuring. The Great Fellaini Debate (he even out-Gravesens Gravesen in the discussion stakes and I never thought I’d say that!) has to be a long-game.

In fact, the Great Fellaini Debate is a microcosm of the Great Moyes Debate. For in the same way that Moyes can go from hero to zero and back again in the space of a month, so it seems with Fellaini.

But as a fully-paid-up member of the "In Moyes We Trust - As Long as He Plays the Bloody Ball on the Deck" brigade, I have to say that I like the idea that he signed a player like Fellaini who almost dictates that we have to keep things on the ground (if he could reach it more often than not it would deffo help), so I’m keeping my powder dry with the Baffling Belgian (or is he Moroccan? see!!!).

Something tells me - given his career so far - that we could all be loving him again in a game or two’s time and I, for one, wouldn’t put it past the lad to do something utterly stupid like score a cup winning screamer in about eight weeks’ time (or maybe get sent off!).

It’s the Fellaini way.

And I suspect the Great Fellaini Debate still needs to take as many twists as his resplendently bizarre barnet.

Ped Pearl
80   Posted 19/02/2009 at 18:54:14

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Jonathan ? and you say that Joe knows nothing about football.... I can't believe you could be serious. Neville has proven his worth both on and off the pitch this season, week-in, week-out.
Gary Hughes
81   Posted 20/02/2009 at 01:48:11

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I think Joe has come in for some unjustified stick here. If you look at the article header there is a ? at the end which to me suggests a question rather than a statement.

Joe makes valid points regarding Fellaini. For a club like ours, £15 million is a monumental amount of money & for that you would expect an accomplished top drawer player which Fellaini clearly isn?t. If he had only cost £2 million no-one would have batted an eyelid.

But, as many have already pointed out, the fee is not down to him but he will be judged by it regardless. Personally I see a very good player beneath the hair, at times awkward & guilty of giving the ball away cheaply, yet he is also influential & seems to be constantly involved. Should we expect more for the fee? I would say yes. Should we cut our losses? Definately not, there is more to come from this kid, let's just give him some time.

Pete Jones
82   Posted 20/02/2009 at 02:54:00

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A cross between Big Dunc and that git Roy Keane ? could be a £15m bargain!
Jonathan Clark
83   Posted 21/02/2009 at 08:14:45

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Just out of curiosity, what has Neville proven to you? His lack of awareness and creativity, his inability to pass, run, shoot, head the ball, his unrelenting need to give the ball away?

And Gary, if you read the article you would’ve noticed that Joe concludes it by stating that Fellaini "doesn’t fit in". I do agree with what you’re saying about Fellaini, but the criticism of Joe is certainly justified.
Eddy Bernard
84   Posted 22/02/2009 at 23:01:59

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Good article Joe

You can now add the Newcastle display to the list of games were Fellaini contributed nothing other than add to his collection of yellow cards
Chris Brigden
85   Posted 27/02/2009 at 13:51:16

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A bargain at £15million. The lad has tonnes of potential.
Stop being so negative.
Phil Palmometer
86   Posted 22/03/2009 at 16:26:33

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What a ridiculous article.

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