Fellaini joins Manchester United’s top flops
Manchester United are planning to offload Marouane Fellaini for as little as £15m. Speculation mounts less than a year after former manager David Moyes paid £27.5m to prise the player from rivals Everton, famously for £4m more than if the Red Devils had met the misfit midfielder’s £23.5m clause a few months earlier.
After failing to impress in a turbulent season at Old Trafford, frozen-out Fellaini is first on new manager Louis van Gaal’s list to be priced up and shipped out. As the current Netherlands boss considers adding both steel and guile to a lacklustre midfield, the Belgium star finds himself sitting on the supermarket shelf, with odds of 16/1 to be Belgium’s top scorer at the World Cup.
Having seen his stock fall so dramatically during Moyes’ reign, Fellaini may have to consider a move abroad to reignite his reputation. Inter Milan, having recently signed his out of contract club-mate Nemanja Vidic, could do worse than securing the services of the World Cup international at a knockdown price.
Much-maligned midfielder Fellaini can, however, take heart from the fact that his spell at the club hasn’t been enough to land him at the very top of United’s terrible transfer list.
Whilst Sir Alex Ferguson was famous for bagging bargains such as Peter Schmeichel, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Manchester club haven’t always been so prudent in the market.
5) Eric Djemba-Djemba
As the Cameroon midfielder is about to be released by St Mirren, he can look back at a career that has taken him to the World Cup and Champions League. However, the 32-year-old has always suffered from the infamous comparison made by Sir Alex Ferguson, proclaiming him to be the heir to Roy Keane’s throne. It turned out to be quite the insult to the Irishman, and an overwhelming burden to Djemba-Djemba, who arrived at United in 2002. He left after only one-and-a-half seasons at the club, under a cloud of off-field rumours, having made only 13 Premier League appearances.
4) Dong Fangzhou
Dong made his much anticipated debut for the title-winning Red Devils in 2007 at Stamford Bridge, to a guard of honour from Chelsea players. This would be as close as he would get to tasting any trophy success with United, as after making a grand total of three first team appearances, Dong’s contract was cancelled in 2008. Widely acknowledged to be a signing made to lure Chinese fans and sponsors to Manchester, Dong’s career has spiralled since his stint at the club. The forward now plies his trade back in his homeland at Hebei Zhongji.
3) Dimitar Berbatov
Currently playing his football in tax-haven Monaco, the silky striker arrived in Manchester from Tottenham Hotspur in 2008, scoring 48 goals in 108 Premier League starts for the club.
It was the brooding forward’s lax attitude and inability to gel with the team, often slowing down play, that saw him relegated to the bench in favour of Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. Despite undoubted individual brilliance, the Bulgarian’s performances and application were not up to scratch for a side chasing honours on all fronts. A reported fee of £30.75m propels Berbatov almost up to the summit of terrible transfers.
2) Juan Sebastian Veron
Sir Alex Ferguson broke the British transfer record back in 2001 to separate the Argentine from S.S Lazio. For a reported £24.7m fee, the expectations placed on Veron to impress in a Champions League winning midfield containing Red Devils legends Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, were just too high. He failed to adapt to English football and life in Manchester, escaping after just two seasons for another disappointing stint at Chelsea.
It began as a fairytale rags to riches story, as former street kid Bebe secured a dream transfer to United, hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo. The Red Devils paid a reported, and what now seems extortionate, £7.4m for the Vitoria de Guimaraes man in 2010, after he had played only one full season at a professional club.
Almost five years and three loans later, Bebe looks to have no future at the club, and failed to make Portugal’s World Cup squad as a wildcard.