Marouane Fellaini's nightmare time at Manchester United could be about to end as the club are in negotiations with Napoli regarding the midfielder, whose €35 million fee last summer made him the fourth most expensive player in the club's history.
Fellaini is thought to want to make the move to Italy, although he is still weighing up the decision. Whether it would be a permanent transfer or loan deal is also in the balance.
United would prefer to sell the player and are bracing themselves to take a sizeable loss, with any fee in the region of €19 million understood to be considered good business.
Napoli, though, want to take Fellaini on a temporary basis as the club have straitened finances and are trying to remove players from their books.
With Fellaini on about €125,000 a week, his terms may also be an issue if it were to be a permanent transfer.
Despite the Belgian's disappointing form since joining United – he failed to score a goal for the club and was unlucky with injuries – Rafael Benitez, the Napoli head coach, believes the player's physicality could be utilised in Serie A.
Fellaini was seen recently at the Sheraton Brussels Airport hotel with Riccardo Bigon, Napoli's technical director, and some representatives, for discussions.
The move away from United is being presented to Fellaini as a chance to rebuild his career and an opportunity to play Champions League football as United are not in the competition next season.
Fellaini's disgruntlement at his troubled year at United was evident at the World Cup when he was asked about his Old Trafford experience.
“I have played eight years as a professional, so I don’t need to prove [anything]. I always believed in myself,” he said.
Shinji Kagawa's future at United is also in doubt as Louis van Gaal continues to assess his squad during the tour of the United States. Kagawa's former club, Borussia Dortmund, retain an interest in him and are seen as potential suitors.
Van Gaal will be given the final say in discussions with Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, over whether United return to the US after the club were invited to tour the country again next year by their main sponsors.
With Aon, Chevrolet and Bulova delighted at how the squad has been received stateside this summer, plans are being drawn up for United to visit New York, Chicago and Dallas next year.
Meanwhile, the change of manager at United led to the club telling Rio Ferdinand they did not want him anymore, the 35-year-old defender said.
The centre back has signed a one-year contract at promoted QPR having spent 12 trophy-laden years at Old Trafford.
“When Ryan Giggs took over the job at United . . . he made it clear to me that I’d have been a part of his plans,” Ferdinand said after he was unveiled at Loftus Road.
“Things in football change quickly. A new manager came in and things went a different way.
“I made it clear at the time – Manchester United had to tell me they didn’t want me for me to leave the club and that was always the way it was going to be.
“That’s what happened at the end of the season. The club said ‘thank you and goodbye’. That happens in football.
“The club’s bigger than any player and I‘m happy to be here now.”
Ferdinand said he was looking forward to a new challenge with Rangers and relishing the fresh start under Harry Redknapp, his first manager at West Ham.
“I had various offers from different places in the world. But when Harry made the call, it was easy. I started my career under him at West Ham so this is a fairytale finish.” – Guardian Service