Man Utd Focus - Do the Reds need Fellaini and Baines?
The summer transfer window slams shut on Monday, with Manchester United yet to secure a significant signing. The Premier League champions are reported to have had a renewed bid of around £38m for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines rejected, but do the Reds really need to invest that amount of money in the Everton duo?
The combined fee is no doubt weighted towards the cost of taking the 25-year-old Fellaini to Old Trafford, who had a £23m release clause in his contract that expired earlier in the summer. If that figure has been reached as part of the current bid, it puts the price for Baines at £15m. Despite being at the top of his game, this is a lot for a full back that will turn 29 in December.
The fee seems increasingly high considering the upturn in form of Patrice Evra, who had an excellent season last time round after a dip in form the previous two campaigns. The Frenchman has looked sharp in the early stages of the season in a continuation of last term's performances, when he seemed to respond to the threat posed by Alexander Büttner. At 32 he has time left at the top, and as a player imbued in the history of the Old Trafford club, is revered and respected by United supporters.
The price for Fellaini seems more reasonable, with the Belgian still at an age to improve on his excellent displays on Merseyside. He would appear to be an ideal fit for David Moyes' side, which requires an injection of creativity and steel in the centre of midfield. However there is an argument that this could be provided from within the squad of players that the new manager has inherited.
Doubts remain over the consistency and fitness of Tom Cleverley and Anderson, who are the likeliest candidates to replace the dynamism missing since Darren Fletcher has been absent from the team. However with Paul Scholes retiring, a creative spark has been lost that must be replaced. Last summer's signing, Nick Powell, could be the solution that Moyes is looking for.
Still only 19, the Crewe academy graduate has shown plenty of promise, dominating games at his former club, while showing flashes of brilliance in some of the goals he scored. A Scholes-esque ability to strike the ball has been exemplified on a number of occasions, none more so than in the League Two play-off final in 2012. He has done well for United's Under-21s, and his confidence was shown on his full debut when he came on as a substitute against Wigan and found the net from 20 yards.
The England Under-21 international has represented his country at all age groups, and will only have learnt from his time so far at Old Trafford, training alongside the likes of Scholes and current midfield general Michael Carrick. Standing at 6 feet, he has the frame to develop into, and now could be the time he is given a chance in the first team. Moyes is a manager who trusts in his youth, and United is a club that demands youngsters be brought through.
Despite the perceived significance of a marquee signing this summer, it is not imperative that Moyes must sign Fellaini and Baines. The Belgian would be a welcome addition to the midfield, but in Powell there is an opportunity to bring through promise from within.
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