Will Fellaini And Baines Join Moyes At Manchester United?


Will Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines follow David Moyes to Manchester United? Today on the blog Daniel Evans considers the phenomenon of players following managers to a new club.


With the transfer silly season underway, much attention has turned to David Moyes and whether he will stamp his authority on Manchester United through his summer transfer dealings. In particular, fans of both Everton and United are wondering whether Moyes will address United’s long standing weaknesses at full back and centre midfield by summoning the outstanding Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini to Old Trafford.

The phenomenon of players following managers from club to club is widespread in football, yet the presence of a strong relationship between player and manager is often overlooked when discussing and indeed when betting on the notoriously unpredictable transfer market. Professional footballers are like you and me: they want playing time, to feel valued and appreciated, and will obviously want to follow a manager who provides them with this security. Pay checks are nice, but a solid, pre-existing relationship with manager and coaching staff is also important in determining where players will move.

For the manager, such moves provide them with a trusted lieutenant in the dressing room and a reliable presence on the pitch: it is a win- win situation. Of course, player-manager relationships don’t have to be intimate ‘bromances’ (what a detestable word, sorry)- often the player may simply embody a manager’s footballing ethos or be indispensable to their tactical approach, think Kuyt and Benitez or Essien and Mourinho.

For Moyes, who will undoubtedly be nervous upon taking up such a highly pressured position, bringing in familiar faces would offer much needed reassurance and help settle him into the new role. The inherent danger, of course, is that new players become seen as teacher’s pets and that their presence will spark jealousy from established players who view them as rivals, but this is a risk the manager has to work around.

Manchester United Transfer Odds

To Sign Marouane Fellaini 4.00 5.00 3.00
To Sign Leighton Baines 1.17 1.20 1.50
To Sign Cristiano Ronaldo 4.00 2.00 3.50
To Sign Gareth Bale 3.50 6.00 6.50
To Sign Jack Wilshere 9.00 11.00 NA
To Sign Robert Lewandowski 5.00 4.50 5.50
To Sign Thiago 1.12 1.17 1.33

Odds as at 4th July 2013.

The Premier League has provided us with some notably close manager/player relationships over the years. Let’s have a look at some of them:

Sam Allardyce and Kevin Nolan

The most obvious father/son analogy in the premier league at the moment is also the most unglamorous. Nolan has been with Allardyce since he was a teenager at Bolton, and after playing under him at Newcastle is now Allardyce’s captain at West Ham. A perfect complement in terms of playing styles, Nolan has thrived by feeding off the knockdowns central to Allardyce’s direct football.

This relationship undoubtedly deserves to be immortalised on the silver screen, and I am currently working on a script for a heart warming father-son comedy drama set in a Northern Working Men’s Club. Plot synopsis: traditional Dad Sam disapproves of his flamboyant son Kevin’s chicken dance. Hilarity ensues.

Mark Hughes and Roque Santa Cruz and Craig Bellamy

Hughes’ admiration for Santa Cruz is well documented, managing the player at Blackburn and Manchester City and now apparently looking to bring him to Stoke. Although Santa Cruz’ profligacy inevitably leads one to question whether Hughes just wanted him around because he was nice to look at, Hughes succeeded in harnessing Bellamy’s psychotic tendencies and transformed him into a mature international goalscorer under his management for Wales.

Harry Redknapp and Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch

Defoe played under Redknapp at West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham, whilst Crouch played under him at Southampton, Portsmouth and Tottenham. Although he used both players relatively sparingly at Tottenham, these two players have become emblematic of Redknapp’s simple yet exciting approach to football, and one wouldn’t bet against another reunion in the near future.

Steve Bruce and Lee Cattermole

‘The tragic tale of a well meaning father whose love for his son prevents him from noticing his murderous tendencies, starring Albert Finney and Stephen Graham’. As with Hughes and Bellamy, Bruce’s relationship with Cattermole again demonstrates the value managers’ place in having a hardman/sociopath in the dressing room with undying loyalty to you. Cattermole’s disciplinary and injury problems make it unlikely that he will last under DiCanio at Sunderland, and a move to Hull seems the best bet for all parties.

Transfer Market Considerations

Jose Mourinho is known for inspiring fanatical loyalty in his players (well, apart from at Real Madrid), and it will be interesting to see who he brings with him to Chelsea. His most trusted charge, Ricardo Carvalho, is past it, but Wesley Sneijder, Zlatan and Xabi Alonso are all loyal protégés who may be moving this summer, and if you absolutely have to bet on the transfer market without being ‘ITK’, make sure you factor in the players’ past managers and coaching staff and where they currently reside.

Whilst David Moyes hasn’t got the glamorous contacts that Mourinho has, he may still usefully mine Everton for excellent, loyal players, just as Roberto Martinez will return to Wigan to strengthen Everton. Bringing in Baines and Fellaini, who personify his combative, wing focused style, would be a statement of intent regarding the type of football he intends to develop at United, and we should all hope that when Moyes pulls up at Carrington for pre-season he will have Baines and Fellaini strapped into booster seats in the back of his car.



Follow Dan on Twitter: @theenverhoxha

And read more of his work on his blog: WittyPlayOnWords.Blogspot