Many have criticized David Moyes manager of Manchester United for not signing major players during this summer’s transfer window, specifically at the attacking midfield position. This was a cause for concern from many United supporters, as the other top clubs in the English Premier League made significant signings this summer to strengthen their title chances.
United and Moyes missed out on a number of attacking midfield talents which only intensified scrutiny, the focus being on highly rated Spain International Cesc Fabregas, as Barcelona rejected two lavish bids from the Red Devils. They also missed out on up and coming Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who chose Bayern Munich and former manager Pep Guardiola over United. It appeared that United was beginning to get desperate being linked with Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla and many other talented attacking midfielders.
They missed out on Ander Herrera of Athletic Bilbao on deadline day due to some convoluted and perplexing circumstances. If you truly look at United’s roster, they weren’t really in need of an attacking midfielder. They never lacked creativity; they were in need of grit and determination in the center of the midfield.
With Robin Van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez all capable of finding the back of the net, goal scoring wasn’t a priority. Having Nani, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Ryan Giggs as wide players, plenty of creativity and service will come from wide areas. Wayne Rooney essentially plays the No. 10 role for United and is a more-than-capable attacking midfield option. With Shinji Kagawa as cover, they don’t look to have a problem producing creativity.
Central and defensive midfield is where United truly lacked in quality; it was an especially glaring weakness compared to the other top European sides in the Champions League. Michael Carrick is an experienced English international that is really the only proven commodity in the center of the pitch for United. Anderson, the Brazilian international, is always hurt and his form is up and down. Tom Cleverley, another English international, just doesn’t provide the physical presence that Darren Fletcher did when healthy.
Fletcher, a Scotland international, is battling health and fitness issues and his career may be in jeopardy. He has left a void in the center of the pitch that has never been filed. They try to fill that void occasionally with defender Phil Jones but Jones lacks the technical ability to be a world-class midfielder.
Marouane Fellaini is exactly what they needed. He is a dynamic defensive midfielder who scores goals, brings tenacity and is an aerial dynamo on set pieces. The Belgian international is long and rangy with an imposing physique. Partnered with Carrick, they could be a formidable physical presence in the heart of United’s midfield.
Moyes has a tremendous familiarity with Fellaini having coached him at Everton. United spent €36 million for his services. That familiarity is something Moyes can rely on, as he knows what Fellaini is capable of, playing with better talent one can only expect the Belgian to produce at an even higher level.
At 25 years of age, Fellaini is entering the prime of his career, and looks like a great signing for Moyes and United filling a need and upgrading the overall talent of the team. Only time will tell if this was a great signing for United. But based on Fellaini’s track record so far in the Premiership, it is hard to see him not ascend to greatness at Old Trafford.