Football: Marouane Fellaini to extend Manchester United contract by 2 years

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini has agreed a two-year extension with the club. The Belgian's lawyers will look over the contract and, provided they are happy, Fellaini will sign it on Sunday (July 1).
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini has agreed a two-year extension with the club. The Belgian's lawyers will look over the contract and, provided they are happy, Fellaini will sign it on Sunday (July 1).PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (THE TIMES, LONDON) - Jose Mourinho scored a significant personal victory on Wednesday (June 27) after Marouane Fellaini agreed a two-year contract extension with Manchester United.

Mourinho asked the United board to keep Fellaini beyond his contract, which expires this weekend, but they were initially unwilling to grant the midfielder a two-year deal.

United offered Fellaini a one-year contract, with an option to extend it by 12 months. However, they have given in to his demands and have presented him with a two-year contract, which expires in the summer of 2020.

Fellaini, who is expected to play against England for Belgium on Thursday, will earn about £100,000 (S$179,000) a week, excluding bonuses. Fellaini's lawyers will look over the contract and, provided they are happy, Fellaini will sign it on Sunday, which is the day after his present deal expires. It is understood that Fellaini has informed some of his United and Belgium team-mates that he will stay.

Fellaini's representatives are thought to have sought assurances from Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, that he would be given game time next season. Fellaini started five Premier League matches last season, which disappointed the Belgian.

Other interested parties - including AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Galatasaray and a number of Chinese clubs - held talks with Fellaini's representatives over the past few months.

A source close to the player said that they also had a meeting with Sven Mislintat, the Arsenal head of recruitment, about a move to the Emirates Stadium. However, when United offered him a two-year deal this month, Fellaini decided to stay, which will please Mourinho. Although Fellaini did not start many games last season, the United manager thinks that the former Everton midfielder is a useful squad player.

Mourinho has bolstered his midfield options by signing Fred, the Brazilian, for £47 million from Shakhtar Donetsk, but the Portuguese was worried that he would have to spend a similar amount of money on another midfielder if Fellaini left because Michael Carrick retired at the end of last season.

The news will not be greeted as warmly by some United fans, who think Fellaini does not fit with their tradition of exciting football. Mourinho likes to deploy Fellaini as a target man when he brings him off the bench, but the supporters prefer to see the ball played on the floor.

With Fellaini having agreed to stay, Mourinho has ended his interest in Marko Arnautovic, the tall West Ham United forward, who was a potential replacement.

Woodward will turn his attentions toward bolstering United's defence and attack before the start of the team's pre-season tour of the United States on July 15. Mourinho has informed Woodward that he would like to sign a centre-back, with Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur among several options, and a left-back, such as Juventus's Alex Sandro.

Mourinho would like to sign Gareth Bale if the Wales forward decides to leave Real Madrid. Other than Fred, the only summer signing United have made is that of Diogo Dalot, the 19-year-old Portuguese full-back.