Fellaini close to signing new Manchester United contract, Mourinho claims
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes matchwinner Marouane Fellaini will be persuaded to commit his future to Old Trafford.
Marouane Fellaini is close to signing a new Manchester United contract, but manager Jose Mourinho is not yet ready to celebrate.
Fellaini came off the bench to head home an injury-time winner in United's 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday, three points securing the club a place in next season's Champions League.
The Belgium international's deal expires at the end of the season and he has been linked with a free transfer to European giants Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.
Fellaini has only started four Premier League games this term, but Sunday's winner against Arsenal was his fourth league goal of the season and Mourinho is confident the 30-year-old midfielder can be convinced to commit his future to the Old Trafford club.
"The position is that we are almost there but in football almost is not enough," Mourinho told a post-match news conference.
"And I think we are almost there but I can't celebrate because almost is not enough. I want to see the white paper with the United crest and [chief executive] Ed Woodward's signature and Marouane's signature on it.
"I think a player that grabs the crest after scoring is telling clearly that he wants to stay. I want him to stay, the club wants him to stay, I think he will stay, it is nearly there."
United had to battle for a victory that consigned Arsenal to a sixth successive away league loss on what was Arsene Wenger's last visit to Old Trafford in charge of the Gunners.
"I'm happy with the last 20 minutes," Mourinho said. "I think for 70 minutes there was not a clear difference between both teams and we were playing obviously in the search of points that we need, and Arsenal wasn't because they are in a similar situation to us as last season, with all the focus on the Europa League semi-final.
"For 70 minutes we were not bad, but we were a little bit slow, slow thinking, not really intense, but then after their goals, we all reacted, the fans reacted, the intensity of the game improved.
"We gave width, width gave us crosses, crosses gave us set-pieces, crosses and set-pieces needed targets, we needed somebody [Fellaini] that could give us something different and especially replace [Romelu] Lukaku's height and power and aerial game."