Marouane Fellaini’s agent tried to broker a deal for his client to leave Manchester United and join Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian in last January’s transfer window, it has been revealed.
Tianjin Quanjian head coach Fabio Cannavaro has confirmed that he rejected a chance to sign Fellaini after an approach from his agent, as he suggested the leggy Belgian was not the kind of player he wanted in his team.
Fellaini has been something of a bit-part player for Jose Mourinho since he took over as United manager last summer, but he has stated that he would not consider allowing the 29-year-old to leave the club this season.
While it is unclear whether United gave Fellaini’s advisers permission to negotiate his move away from Old Trafford, these comments from Cannavaro suggest a deal could have been possible.
“Marouane Fellaini was offered to us,” he is quoted by Sportwereld. “But I told his agent that I am looking for a different type of player.”
Fellaini has started just ten Premier Legaue games for United this season and booed by sections of the Old Trafford crowd back in December, but he has received strong public backing from Mourinho and that support has been appreciated.
“I’ve always had good relationships with managers, but with Jose I have a great relationship. I respect him, he gives me confidence,” Fellaini stated last month.
“He called me and texted me on my holiday to give me confidence and say he trusts me. When a manager calls you and says you are part of his plans and that he trusts you, then you will give everything for him.”
Meanwhile, Cannavaro also suggested Everton striker Romelu Lukaku would be ‘perfect’ for Chinese Super League clubs, ahead of the launch of the championship this weekend.
“The problem is Everton - they do not just let him go,” Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning captain. “The fact that Lukaku is younger, is not the problem.
“Lukaku could be perfect to China. Look at Oscar. He is 25 and swapped Chelsea for Shanghai SIPG. Why? Because football is football in the world. Every player wants to play at a club that wins.”
It was a gesture of goodwill at a hugely difficult time, but one that could still have killed Barcelona. Instead, Irishman Patrick O’Connell decided to make an even bigger gesture, that ended up saving the club.