Why Jose Mourinho must sign Marouane Fellaini in the summer transfer window
- Marouane Fellaini is perfectly made for the transition phase Spurs have embarked upon.
- The peculiar skill-set of Fellaini combined with his strong bond with Mourinho could help Spurs win trophies.
Marouane Fellaini and José Mourinho are not one of the most flamboyant player-manager tag-teams out there, but they are the need of the hour at Tottenham Hotspur. Mourinho’s reign at Spurs is crumbling after a promising start and he looks desperately in need of reinforcements.
While Mourinho has rightly said that Spurs do not need a massive rebuild, the aspect of his squad that he seems most dissatisfied with is the mid-field. There were hopes that Eric Dier would evolve into a better player under Mourinho, but in hindsight those expectations now seem misplaced. Tanguy Ndombele epitomises the team’s struggles with form and fitness under the Portuguese. The club's record signing was given a dose of Mourinho’s public criticism after a string of poor performances amid his frustrating injury-ridden first season.
Christian Eriksen showed sparks of creativity and brilliance in his brief stay in Mourinho’s reign before choosing to move to Inter Milan. While the coach has the necessary players at his disposal in the likes of Giovani Lo Celso, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko and the new signing - Gedson Fernandes, Fellaini offers something no other player can. Transition.
When Ole Gunnar Solskjær decided to take Manchester United forward without Fellaini in his plans, this writer had argued that it was a mistake to let him go especially because of the transition that United was about to embark upon from Mourinho’s defensive set-up to Solskjær’s free-flowing, attacking football. The club paid the price for it as they were woefully inconsistent in their transition phase and have only just begun to find their feet, especially because of the arrival of Bruno Fernandes.
Mourinho knows Fellaini's skill-set, which explains why Mourinho wanted to reunite with the Belgian in the January transfer window. The move failed to materialize. However, Mourinho’s fortunes post the transfer window have only gone downhill. The shift from Mauricio Pochettino’s attacking football has been painful to watch.
Fellaini is made for a metamorphosis like this. His disruptive quality can disturb the opposition’s tempo. Spurs’ inability to break down well-organised defences has only been aggravated by the absence of Harry Kane and Heung min Son. They lack a lanky player with Fellaini’s physicality and aerial command, who is unafraid to take on the opposition’s mid-field and commit tactical fouls.
The fact that he can play in almost any position, be it as a second striker, mid-fielder or defender makes him well-suited for a transition phase fro a club. Most of the goals he scored for Manchester United were against the run of play, highlighting his ability to conjure up goals against the tide. It is also a testament to his never give up attitude.
Mourinho does not need to build his team around Fellaini to extract his potential. He just needs to utilise him to transform his Spurs team to deliver what he has been hired for by Daniel Levy - to win trophies. Fellaini might not be the player who can win trophies for Spurs but he surely can be the one who can help Spurs in becoming such a team.
Published 20 Mar 2020, 15:46 IST