Manchester United expected to return with separate bids for Everton pair
Everton described €33m opening offer for duo as ‘derisory and insulting’
Leighton Baines (L) of Everton tackles Jonny Howson of Norwich City during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road. Photograph: Tony Marshall/Getty Images
Wes Hoolahan of Norwich City holds off a challenge from Marouane Fellaini of Everton at Carrow Road. Photograph: Tony Marshall/Getty Images
Marouane Fellaini (25) has been the subject of a €19m bif from Manchester United. Photograph: Scott A. Miller / AP Images for Guinness International Champions Cup
Everton described as “derisory and insulting” an offer that valued Fellaini at £16 million (€19m), a decrease on what Moyes paid for the midfielder five years ago, and Baines at £12m (€14m), the sum rejected earlier in the summer. The offer was made late last week by United’s executive vice-president Ed Woodward but sanctioned by Moyes, leaving Everton’s chairman Bill Kenwright furious at the valuation and its potential disruption to Roberto Martínez’s debut season at Goodison Park.
United’s joint bid, as with their initial move for Baines in June, was rejected out of hand by Everton but is unlikely to be their last approach having failed to make any senior signings so far under Moyes. Everton are adamant the England left-back is not for sale and want to keep Fellaini, although an improved offer for the Belgium midfielder may test that resolve. United’s prospects would therefore be improved by lodging separate bids for Everton’s prize assets.
Everton’s new director of communications, Alan Myers, said: “Everton received bids from Manchester United for two players. Those bids were immediately rejected out of hand as derisory and insulting. The club did not make public these details as it was vital Roberto Martínez’s preparations for the opening game of the Premier League season were not disrupted in any way.”
Martinez may return to Wigan Athletic for Ireland’s James McCarthy in the event of Fellaini’s departure and has inquired about signing Gareth Barry on a season-long loan from Manchester City. However, the Everton manager insists the club have complete control over Fellaini’s future following the expiry of a £23.5m (€27.5m) buyout clause in the midfielder’s contract on July 31st and will not sell below that price. The 25-year-old did not attract one offer while his buyout clause was in place, strengthening United’s conviction that £23.5m did not reflect his market value.
Everton had anticipated a lower offer from United after July 31st and it was only last Thursday, before the joint bid was made, that Martinez stated: “When you are in a strong position financially you will never sell a player for less than the buyout clause.” Nevertheless, the £16m valuation of Fellaini stunned Everton. The Belgium midfielder was signed by Moyes from Standard Liege for an initial £15m (€17.6m) in 2008, a fee that rose to £17.5m (€20.5m) with add-ons.
United have struggled in Moyes’s and Woodward’s first transfer window together at Old Trafford with the club’s pursuit of Cesc Fabregas, the manager’s prime target, unlikely to succeed after the midfielder spoke publicly about his desire to stay at Barcelona.
Martinez did not rule out the prospect of selling Fellaini when he outlined the midfielder’s contractual position at Everton last week, saying “If there is an offer on the table then we will have to look into it,”, but will be distinctly unimpressed by Moyes’s refusal to accept defeat on Baines. United told Everton their £12m move for Baines in July was a final offer and the decision to re-submit the bid has added to the annoyance at Goodison Park.