Fellaini’s comfort on the ball, his calm tackling and distribution had been directly responsible for the newly-discovered attacking form of the rest of the team. Knowing that they could rely on him to kill opposing offensive moves allowed the rest of Everton’s midfield to adapt to an attack-first mentality and leave the dirty work to Fella. Losing him was a major blow to our chances that day, and though we were a man up for most of the game, I don’t think anyone was too surprised that the team never recovered its attacking impetus. After the fact, everyone could see that losing the best holding midfielder in the Premier League (there, I said it) was too big a mountain to climb, even with the man advantage.
As disappointing as that day was – I felt physically ill into the following morning – Everton probably benefited in the end, counter intuitively. Fellaini’s form had been beyond impressive, and the attention from those outside the Toffee community was growing exponentially. Moyes had come out and waved him around as the best in the country, and Fella’s dad had touted his boy as the next big target for the top four, specifically Chelsea. Bold proclamations all around, but Fella didn’t let anybody down. With each successive game, he got better and better, the team got better as a result, and Everton started playing to a standard that I personally have not seen before (admittedly, too young to know much about the “good old days”). His influence was such that the midfielders continued to play at the pinnacle of their ability even after he was gone, based solely on their newfound comfort in attacking positions. That dipped a bit in the recent showings in Lisbon and against Spurs, but hopefully they still remember how good it feels to press forward and get goals. If they do, they’ll be working from a foundational confidence established with Fellaini.
How, then, does Fellaini’s unavailability help us? If you look beyond this season (and just for the record, I still think we can get something out of these remaining months), what was the realistic projection for Fellaini’s continuing at Everton? Here is a 22-year-old kid with loads of potential. He’s finally proved his worth in the Premier League, been hailed as the Next Big Thing by his manager and publicly tipped for a move to Chelsea by his dad.
If he had continued on his run of good form and stayed healthy until the end of the season, there is a very good chance the money clubs would have come calling in the transfer window. If Chelsea, Arsenal, or somebody else had offered the prospect of doubled wages and regular European action, where would an honest betting man put Fella’s odds for a move? We saw what happened with Lescott last summer, and I know I’m biased, but Fellaini’s combination of size, obvious talent and uninterrupted string of quality performances make him a much more attractive target for the same kind of shadowy unsettling that took Lescott to Manchester City. Put simply, I was not looking forward to transfer season.
The injury buys us at least another year. He falls off the Top 4 Poach-hounds’ collective radar for the rest of this season, and this summer nobody is going to offer Moyes the kind of money necessary to steal him. We need to make the most of this coming year. Add a couple to the squad in the summer, try to keep Pienaar, try to get Donovan back, keep Rodwell and the other youngsters, try to start well enough to give ourselves a realistic push for a top-4 finish and European money. Not an easy juggling act, but the club needs to all of this and more to continue winning and keep the locker room dynamic strong. Make it worth it, in other words, for him to stay and test the possibilities.
In the past, money has been too convincing to keep even home-grown talent of this kind at Everton (Rooney’s infamous “Once a Blue, always a Blue” comes to mind), and Fellaini has only recently acclimated to England, let alone fallen hard for the club. We have a year to make it happen. Say nice things about him. Donate to Belgian charities. If you see a black puff of hair peeking over the aisle while you’re grocery shopping, put down the can of soup and go shake his hand. Maybe slip him some cash while you’re at it.
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 02/03/2010 at 09:27:13
Am I becoming a cynic? You decide!
2 Posted 02/03/2010 at 09:50:05
I think you’re my generation of thinking but some of the old schoolers are always going to give you flack for alternative theories. That said I do think Felli will be sold regardless.
3 Posted 02/03/2010 at 10:03:36
4 Posted 02/03/2010 at 11:39:24
But £25m? £10m more than we paid? I’d want £30m and 50% of all wig sales.
5 Posted 02/03/2010 at 12:20:34
6 Posted 02/03/2010 at 12:50:11
All the scouts will have made their recommendations and he WILL more than likely be available pre-season.
There’s also the strong possibility that we will have to cash in on a player yet again this summer so he Pienaar and Rodwell look like the pick of the bunch.
7 Posted 02/03/2010 at 13:49:40
8 Posted 02/03/2010 at 14:59:19
9 Posted 02/03/2010 at 15:22:34
10 Posted 02/03/2010 at 15:58:52
Wishing the big fella a speedy recovery.
11 Posted 02/03/2010 at 16:09:09
12 Posted 02/03/2010 at 22:03:22
13 Posted 03/03/2010 at 02:03:58
what would you have given to see our best 11 on the field at the same time for the last 10 games... it would have been a thing of beauty.
14 Posted 03/03/2010 at 03:22:33
15 Posted 03/03/2010 at 04:15:55
16 Posted 03/03/2010 at 04:39:06
17 Posted 03/03/2010 at 05:21:44
18 Posted 03/03/2010 at 04:55:12
I get frustrated that everytime we at Everton unearth a gem (Rooney, Rodwell, Fallaini etc) the expectation is that they will leave because we can’t satisfy their ambition.
In simple terms:– What’s the point in trying to build a beautiful house if someone is digging away at the foundation at the same time. (Over to you, DM/BK)
19 Posted 03/03/2010 at 06:14:43
Peter — woefully behind schedule? Have you ever done your ACL, cos believe me, there is no such thing as a schedule with major injuries like that, only a guideline date. Weren’t Yakubu & Neville both back early-ish — or did you choose to ignore the injuries which did return on time or ahead of schedule. I was out for 2 years with my ACL, so I don’t think 10 months is all too bad actually.
20 Posted 03/03/2010 at 06:57:37
Ajay, from what I can find out myself and was suported in another thread, as long as the recovery goes to plan Fellaini should be up and about ready to play again in June/July, no guarantees about complications or setbacks though.
21 Posted 03/03/2010 at 09:12:48
22 Posted 03/03/2010 at 19:14:15
Just get Arteta back Felli out! Was looking forward to seeing what Moyles would do and who he’d pick, particularly in midfield.
Peanut, Arteta, Cahil, Fellaini, and Donavan would be interesting to see. But you’d still have a selection on the bench of Rodwell, Osman, Billy and Gosling.
Would love to just have a season with our best team playing the majority of the matches just to see where were at, as we’ve shown we can beat the best but can we be consistent??
23 Posted 04/03/2010 at 07:33:13
24 Posted 04/03/2010 at 17:28:43
Arteta out meant that we saw Pienaar, and to some extent, Osman, step up. But that might have happened with Mikel there. We will never know.
Maroane Fellaini was playing in the EPL very successfuly the role he had played in Belgium - a very good league, but not quite the multinational PL we all know and love. I believe he was cynically taken out by an RS no-mark expendable player, a typical Benitez huge squad mercenary.
Moyes, and the EFC finances can be criticised for many things, but his ’vision’ of the Big Fella at the heart of his defence-into-attack 5 man midfield seems obvious to me.
Fatty worked that out too. The Greek hit man did the rest.
25 Posted 04/03/2010 at 17:44:08
All this for a typo?
I love the guy.
26 Posted 05/03/2010 at 01:00:00
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Fan Articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.