Arsenal have reportedly been offered Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, with the 30-year-old out of contract this summer. Manager Unai Emery could find himself short in the engine room if the Gunners can’t tie down new deals for two of their existing players, but they won’t get confirmation from Fellaini for weeks.
The Belgian international was a player on Arsenal’s shortlist in the past, but it’s surprising they’re genuinely interested in bringing him to the Emirates Stadium now given how his United career has gone. Fellaini isn’t a typical Arsenal signing, he’s largely the opposite, but he could soon be joining the Gunners if rumours are to be believed.
Arsenal’s Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat is lining up new potential midfielders ahead of next season, as it’s long been an area the Gunners are short in and because they could lose two talented players from the squad this summer – Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.
Wilshere is out of contract this summer and is yet to sign an extension. The 26-year-old could leave the club in the coming weeks if he and Arsenal can’t come to an agreement, which means he’ll need replacing. Aaron Ramsey has an uncertain future too.
The Welsh international has 12 months left on his respective contract but isn’t currently close to an agreement with Arsenal either. Losing the duo would be costly and signing Fellaini wouldn’t come close to replacing them.
The Gunners do need at least one more midfielder this summer, but Fellaini isn’t the answer. He’s more of a cost-cutting solution that somewhat masks genuine problems in the side.
Arsenal will be made to wait until July before hearing Fellaini’s decision on his future, with the midfielder representing Belgium in the 2018 world Cup this summer. Belgium’s first group game of the tournament is against newcomers Panama on Monday, June 18. The World Cup finishes on Sunday, July 15. The Premier League’s summer transfer window will close in early August.
As a result, Arsenal won’t have a lot of time to sign Fellaini when he returns from the World Cup, so they may instead look at another target. The Gunners have a lot of positions to fill this summer without having a lot of money in which to do it. Fellaini’s playing style is somewhat the antithesis of Arsenal – physicality over style – and likely wouldn’t be linked if he wasn’t free to sign.
Arsenal reportedly only have £50m to spend this summer, forcing manager Unai Emery to be thrifty in the transfer market. It’s why Stephan Lichtsteiner has joined the Gunners on a free transfer and why Fellaini is a target. The Belgian would never be identified as a replacement for Wilshere and Ramsey if he had a sizeable asking price, so why consider procuring his signature?
He’s 30 years of age and has proven at United that he lacks a cultured approach and needs a direct attacking style to thrive – something Arsenal aren’t built for. But as the Gunners don’t have enough money to strengthen every necessary position, they’re having to skimp and compromise. Fellaini arriving at the Emirates would prove that this summer.