Despite initial indications that Marouane Fellaini’s $35.5 million release clause was set to expire on August 14th, The Daily Mail is now reporting that the provision has already expired.
If The Mail is be believed, the failure to trigger Fellaini’s clause may represent yet another hiccup in David Moyes’ tenure as manager at Manchester United.
The first bungle came back on July 14th when the gaffer missed out on the signing of Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona.
The rumors of United’s interest in Alcantara began in late May when they were reportedly preparing a $24 million bid for the midfielder. Yet despite the Red Devils’ outspoken interest, the bid never came. Nearly two months later, Munich swooped in and secured Alcantara’s services for $33 million.
Realizing his slip-up, Moyes rushed his attentions to another Barcelona product, Cesc Fabregas, immediately tabling a bid of $39 million. After Barcelona rejected, Moyes came back a week later, this time offering $46 million. Barcelona rejected a second time.
Since then the Catalan giants have done everything they can to shoo United away from making a third move for the former Arsenal man but Moyes & Co. have yet to concede defeat. When asked about his continued pursuit of Fabregas following Tuesday’s 1-1 pre-season draw with AIK in Stockholm, Moyes claimed he “can’t say anything about it.”
Yet in his quest to sign Fabregas, it appears that Moyes may have committed another transfer market faux pas in allowing Fellaini’s contract to run. The reported buy-out clause of $33.5 million never seemed like an unreasonable amount to pay, especially considering United’s need for some added power and grit in their midfield.
Now that the provision has run its term, however, there is little to indicate that Everton will sell at or below that $33.5 million mark. This is certainly the case if Robert Martinez convinces chairman Bill Kenwright that the additions of Arouna Kone, Gerard Deulofeu, Antolin Alcaraz and Joel Robles, as well as keeping Fellaini and Leighton Baines, gives the Toffees a solid chance at qualifying for Europe.
Then again, convincing Kenwright not to take the money is about as likely as Wayne Rooney displacing Robin van Persie.
Fellaini’s contract at Everton runs through June 2016.