Football: Napoli circling but Fellaini stays true

By Ian Herbert

Marouane Fellaini's move to United fulfilled a life-long dream for the Belgian player. Photo / AP
Marouane Fellaini's move to United fulfilled a life-long dream for the Belgian player. Photo / AP

Marouane Fellaini is desperate to stay and fight to resurrect his career at Manchester United, despite vitriol that included ironic cheering each time he touched the ball during the club's 2-1 pre-season win over Valencia on Tuesday, and will only give up on Old Trafford if manager Louis van Gaal says he is surplus to requirements.

Van Gaal, meanwhile, may wish to expedite his attempts to sign a left-back as backup for 27 million ($53.2 million) Luke Shaw after the former Southampton man was ruled out for up to a month with a hamstring strain yesterday.

Fellaini's move to United was of bigger significance than has been widely appreciated, both to the player and his family, some of whom openly wept when they learnt he had signed for one of the biggest clubs in world football.

The 26-year-old has struggled to establish himself since - although he scored the decisive goal against Valencia - and was seen as a totem of the disastrous David Moyes tenure.

But the ready-made escape route that Rafael Benitez's Napoli are offering is one Fellaini is not yet ready to commit himself to, because he considers the move to United the fulfilment of a lifetime's ambition.

The Italian side want to tie up the proposed loan move, as they would like to have Fellaini in place for their Champions League qualifier against Athletic Bilbao this month. But it remains a waiting game.

United were pursuing the Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo as a back-up to Shaw even before he picked up his injury in training.

But they remain pessimistic about the chances of securing Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria, despite a declaration from Paris Saint-Germain - a prime competitor for his services - that they cannot afford him.

United have had an interest in Di Maria all summer and have been aware of his availability but they do not appear any closer to bringing him in.

- Independent

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