Belgium international heading for the Old Trafford exit door?
With the January transfer window set to reopen in just a few days’ time and with clubs looking to strengthen their ranks ahead of the final few months of the 2017/18 campaign, the rumour mill is awash with speculation linking players with possible mid-season arrivals and departures. Manchester United, currently sitting in second place in the Premier League table, may be looking for reinforcements as they look to close the gap with runaway leaders Manchester City, although their squad may also be weakened as midfielder Marouane Fellaini considers a possible move away from Old Trafford. The Belgium international has polarised opinion amongst the United faithful since joining the club in a £27.5 million transfer from Everton back in 2013, despite establishing himself as one of manager Jose Mourinho’s trusted lieutenants. With his current deal set to expire at the end of the season, Fellaini will be free to hold talks with any interested foreign clubs over a possible free transfer as from Monday. However, United are keen to extend the 30-year-old’s deal. Having already rejected the club’s offer of weekly wages believed to be in the region of roughly £100,000, the Belgian is believed to be holding out for significantly improved terms, as he seeks a salary of around £175,00 a week instead, according to the Metro. Mourinho will not be keen to lose Fellaini, who is attracting interest from clubs in Turkey and China and has regularly spoken of his admiration for the midfielder. Currently sidelined with injury, the former Everton man hasn’t featured for United since the narrow 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion towards the end of November and is unlikely to feature in the Red Devils’ next league fixture, a home clash with Southampton, on Saturday.
Mourinho ready to break the bank for Brazilian sensation
Should Fellaini depart Old Trafford, though, United may have a replacement lined up already, as Mourinho looks to do a deal for French outfit Bordeaux’s wonderkid Malcolm. The midfielder, who is capable of playing on either wing as well as a more advanced midfielder, has taken Ligue 1 by storm since his transfer from Corinthians last January. Despite Bordeaux’s lowly position of 15th in the table, Malcolm has managed to find the back of the net on seven occasions from his 18 appearances and has had a price tag of £55 million slapped on him by his club. Mourinho is thought to be a keen admirer of the Brazilian and according to the Metro, has encouraged vice-chairman Ed Woodward to wrap up a deal as soon as possible for the 20-year-old. Whilst United would be open to the option of allowing Malcolm to see out the rest of the campaign with Bordeaux, Mourinho believes that the youngster is capable of having a similar impact on the Premier League as Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus has had and would like to see the transfer wrapped up sooner, rather than later.
Following United’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Burnley on Tuesday afternoon, Mourinho claimed that the £286.2million he has splashed out on new signings since taking over at Old Trafford is not enough to be able to restore the dominance that United have so craved since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. The January transfer window provides the Portuguese boss with the perfect opportunity to strengthen his ranks as he sees fit and should the race for the league title already be over, emerge as the team to beat in this season’s Champions League. In recent weeks, performances and results have dwindled under Mourinho and the former Chelsea boss will be itching to topple Pep Guardiola’s free-flowing City side and become a champion with United.