Manchester United are facing another huge summer as they attempt to climb back on top of English football after several years of rebuilding. Jose Mourinho has made progress since taking over, but he is yet to lift a league title and that will be the club’s aim of next season. The Red Devils haven’t won the Premier League trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and it is a landmark that needs to be achieved if the world is going to truly believe they are back.
The focus will be on who the club can bring in this summer and the recent history suggests that they will try to make big-name signings. Although they have signed some excellent players with the likes of Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez moving to Old Trafford, there are doubts about the togetherness and tactical identity of the club. Mourinho needs to be cuter in his recruitment if he is to oversee a title-winning season.
One issue that will come into focus this summer is the future of Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian international has not been the most popular player since signing during the infamous David Moyes era, but he has had a part to play under three successive managers now. The marriage with Jose Mourinho may be the most beneficial one yet. The United boss is known for playing with the end result in mind and that isn’t always pretty.
In Fellaini, he has a tactical weapon that he can deploy at will and the midfielder has started to thrive in his role within the squad. It is often against the bigger teams that he comes into the team and has a telling impact on matches. The most recent example came at the weekend, as he came off the bench against Arsenal and scored the winning goal with a trademark header. Moments earlier, he had hit the post and it wasn’t a surprise that his presence led to the winning goal.
Despite the predictable tactics being employed when Fellaini is on the pitch, he still manages to cause chaos and his goal record this season shows that. He may not have played a major part, but he has scored a goal every 153.2 minutes across the Premier League and Champions League. That is an impressive return considering he isn’t known as a goal-scorer.
There are few better at dominating in the air and that is a tactical weapon that Mourinho has managed to wield superbly. When Manchester United need a goal, Fellaini comes on and the team switch to a direct approach. Meanwhile, he has his uses when the team are fighting to keep a lead as he can break the game up and help the defensive effort, especially at set-pieces.
A section of the Manchester United support will be wanting Fellaini to leave this summer, as he doesn’t facilitate an entertaining brand of football. However, he still has something to offer the squad, especially if Jose Mourinho remains as manager. The 30-year-old is a perfect fit for a Mourinho team and his performances over the past two years have underlined that. He needs to be given a new contract this summer.