Mourinho to intensify Moyes rivalry with Fellaini pursuit.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks set to intensify a summer-long rivalry with Manchester United manager David Moyes, with CaughtOffside understanding that the Blues are now set to compete with United for the signing of Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
The 25-year-old could favour the chance to link-up with a strong Belgian contingent at Stamford Bridge, with fellow international team-mates Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne (as well as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois currently on loan with Atletico Madrid) all first-team regulars at Chelsea.
United have been chasing Fellaini as one of their main midfield targets for much of the summer, though Moyes has soured his relationship with his old club Everton due to low offers for the player that have been deemed as “derisory and insulting” by the Toffees heirarchy.
It is thought that the Premier League champions will try once again for Fellaini with a £20million offer, though Chelsea could now throw a spanner in the works by submitting an improved bid of £25million, which is closer to Everton’s valuation of the player.
Chelsea are also keen to sign a new midfielder this summer, with fitness doubts over Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel possibly leaving for Galatasaray. This has seen them linked with the likes of Daniele De Rossi, Sami Khedira and Ilkay Gundogan, though Fellaini may now be Mourinho’s top target in another attempt at mind games with Moyes.
Mourinho has been very public in his pursuit of unsettled United striker Wayne Rooney for much of this summer, and still holds out hope of signing the England international by persuading him to submit a transfer request at Old Trafford. Mourinho has also hit out at Moyes for his handling of the saga, saying that it is not surprising Rooney wants to leave as he has not been told he will be first choice by the new manager.
United have been desperate to bring in a new signing before considering the sale of a big name like Rooney, and have considered Fellaini as an option in an advanced midfield role, where he managed 12 goals in Moyes’ Everton side last season. Chelsea also see him as having potential in this position, and Mourinho may see him as a long-term successor to prolific midfielder Frank Lampard.
This latest development will come as another blow to Moyes, who has had a difficult summer in the transfer market since succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson as manager at Old Trafford. The Scot has already missed out on another midfield targets such as Thiago Alcantara, Kevin Strootman and Cesc Fabregas, and has so far been unable to prise Fellaini away from his former club.
Mourinho on the other hand, has already managed to frustrate a rival manager by signing Anzhi Makhachkala star Willian from under the noses of Tottenham, and could look to provide a similar blow to United here by signing Fellaini.