Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini could be on his way to Arsenal in a shock free transfer.
The Belgian international is almost certain to leave Old Trafford this summer, having rejected a contract offer to stay at Old Trafford, and while it seemed likely at one point that he would be moving to Italy to join AC Milan, the thought of staying in the Premier League would definitely appeal to him.
To that end, reports on Monday have suggested that new Arsenal manager Unai Emery has resurrected his interest in Fellaini, having wanted to sign him for Paris Saint-Germain at one point, and talks are scheduled to take place between the two parties this week.
Arsenal interest in Fellaini is genuine and it sounds like he’s more likely to sign for them than he is to renew with MUFC or sign for AC Milan. Has already spoken with Emery, who wanted to sign him for PSG.
— Paul Hirst (@hirstclass) June 4, 2018
With the squad in need of an overhaul but also with funds limited, Fellaini’s availability on a free transfer is a strong motivator in Arsenal’s interest in the former Everton man (as is the case with Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner).
While initial discussions may take place this week, Fellaini’s involvement in the World Cup complicates matters. Neither side will want to rush a deal, meaning it could be after the tournament before the player’s next port of call is confirmed.
Man United manager Jose Mourinho, who is a known fan of Fellaini and would ideally like to keep him around, would be loath to lose the 30-year-old to a Premier League rival. While there is nothing that Mourinho can do to stop Fellaini from joining whoever he wants to, he may finally put pressure on the board to offer the midfielder a greater incentive to stay at the club.
On Arsenal’s end, meanwhile, while Emery and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat may be in agreement as to Fellaini’s worth to the squad going forward, convincing the Arsenal fans – the majority of whom are unlikely to see this as a positive – will be a big early challenge for the new regime.