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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been proved right with transfer window decision

Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho has been proved right with one of the decisions he has made during the 2018 summer transfer window

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been proved right with transfer window decision

Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho has been proved right with one of the decisions he has made during the 2018 summer transfer window

13 July 2018 Friday 13:55
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been proved right with transfer window decision

Not many Manchester United players have divided opinion quite like Marouane Fellaini.

The underwhelming sole arrival in David Moyes' first and only summer in charge at Old Trafford, the Belgian has never been fully accepted by United's supporters, many of whom believe he personifies everything wrong with the Reds' playing style in the post-Ferguson era.

Fellaini's stock was at its highest at the back end of Louis van Gaal's maiden season as United boss as the midfielder scored in wins over Tottenham and Manchester City, and was a standout performer in a 2-1 win at Anfield.

A red card in a dead rubber against Hull on the final day of the season would curtail his progress, though, and he started just three of the 20 games he was eligible for at the start of the following campaign.

Jose Mourinho's arrival in 2016 saw Fellaini reinstated as a first-team regular and he made more appearances in the 2016-17 season than in any other campaign since his transfer from Everton.

A persistent knee injury restricted Fellaini's involvement last term but Mourinho was perhaps more concerned with the midfielder's contract situation than his fitness woes.

Fellaini had just six weeks to run on his contract by the time United's season concluded at Wembley on May 19 and Mourinho looked set to lose one of his favourites for nothing.

AC Milan confirmed their interest in Fellaini the day after the FA Cup final but the Rossoneri ultimately failed in their bid to lure the 30-year-old to Italy and he signed a two-year renewal with United at the back end of June.

United fans, predictably, responded overwhelmingly negatively to the news on Twitter, with one writing: "This is the worst news I’ve seen in a long time pertaining to our club...".

Fellaini played three times at the World Cup after his new contract was confirmed and showed exactly why Mourinho wanted to keep him so badly.

A substitute for Belgium's first knock-out game against Japan, Fellaini was the first man Roberto Martinez turned to with the Red Devils trailing by two goals.

With Belgium implementing a more direct style as they chased the game, Fellaini profited as he netted their equaliser with a bullet header from Eden Hazard's cross.

Whether United fans like it or not, there will be times next season when Mourinho will revert to route-one football and Fellaini remains the team's greatest aerial threat.

Fellaini was rewarded for his performance against Japan with a starting berth against Brazil and was superb in central midfield alongside Axel Witsel.

Defensively he was magnificent, foiling Philippe Coutinho and Neymar on numerous occasions, while he again won the vast majority of aerial battles he was involved in.

Belgium came up short against France in the last four but Fellaini almost took the game to extra-time when he soared above United teammate Paul Pogba to meet a cross - only for his header to finish just wide of the diving Hugo Lloris' near post.

A Fellaini contract renewal might not excite United fans as much as a marquee signing but the Belgian has proved this summer that he can be a key asset for the club next season.

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