Overall, the 2017/18 campaign was a disappointment for Manchester United, who struggled to challenge their rivals for the season’s major honours.
Jose Mourinho’s side had to sit back and watch Manchester City win the Premier League emphatically, with their city rivals smashing a number of records along the way. In Europe too, Man United had to sit back and watch Liverpool reach the Champions League final, and although the Reds weren’t victorious, they lit up the competition with their attractive style of attacking football.
The Red Devils struggled to do what Liverpool did, with their style slated by many and Mourinho mocked for his negative style of football. Work is already underway at Old Trafford as they prepare for the new season, with Fred one player already signed ahead of next season.
Another deal has been secured, with Marouane Fellaini committing his future to the club by signing a new two-year deal, which also has the option of a third. It’s safe to say that the Belgian’s decision to sign on again has divided Man United’s fanbase, and there is certainly a case for both sides of that argument.
Marouane Fellaini has signed a new #MUFC contract which runs until June 2020, with the option to extend for a further year.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 29, 2018
Currently, Man City remain overwhelming favourites to win the Premier League next season, with Pep Guardiola’s side priced at 4/7 with bet365’s Premier League betting market, whilst even Liverpool are shorter odds than Mourinho’s side at this stage of the summer.
Of course, Fellaini committing to the Red Devils isn’t going to be something that swings the title race back in Man United’s favour, but he could be a useful weapon to have on board as Mourinho tries to topple Guardiola.
Mourinho has refused to change his style despite City’s dominance, with Man United a very physical side – Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic are just a number of the powerful players favoured at Old Trafford. It is probably too late, with too much money spent, for Mourinho to overhaul his squad and style. If his side are to topple City, they will have to do it their own way.
Fellaini has been key to that style, with his performances at the World Cup 2018 further highlighting how dangerous he can be. Like at Old Trafford, the 30-year-old midfielder isn’t a guaranteed starter, but he can offer so much.
I am pleased to be continuing my journey as a Manchester United player. I made this decision because I am very happy here. Also, I feel like this team, under Jose, still has a lot we want to achieve. I would like to say a special thank you to Jose for the faith he has always.. pic.twitter.com/OVlogjmtJW
— Marouane Fellaini (@Fellaini) June 29, 2018
In Belgium’s 1-0 victory over England at the Group Stage, he was a constant threat to Gareth Southgate’s side, with his aerial strength and sheer awkwardness causing problems.
That type of performance is what Fellaini is renowned for, particularly from during his days at Everton.
Of course, playing to his strengths will help Man United, but it isn’t likely to be well received. However, it is certainly a different way Mourinho can try to overhaul City and their other rivals.
There has been an edge at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, with Mourinho, David Moyes and Louis van Gaal unable to lead Manchester United to a Premier League trophy.
That unsettled environment has shone through with the announcement of Fellaini’s new deal. For now, supporters are going to have to trust Mourinho’s judgement and take the positives from what we’ve seen from Fellaini in Russia.