First of all, let it be known that there is probably no Evertonian on the planet who would willingly want the club to sell top performer Marouane Fellaini this summer.
With the reality of the club’s desperate financial situation and the poor performances on the pitch due to exhaustion and lack of proper squad options, however, his transfer might be in the best interest of all involved if Everton are to be back competing for European football once again.
Following the loss of vital wins in two consecutive matches as a result of late collapses that ceded injury time goals against Oldham Athletic and Norwich City, it seems the time has come to begin seeking out replacements for the afro-haired Belgian giant.
Despite the massive loss of talent in central midfield that would come with his departure, there are some obvious benefits for the club with the sale of Fellaini. Especially if the chairman and board continue to prove unwilling to provide transfer funds for David Moyes or whoever is in charge at Everton in the summer.
The benefits of a selling policy was briefly evidenced this past summer, when the shrewd transfer of promising, but injury-ridden Jack Rodwell recouped roughly £12 million for the club. These funds where then quickly used to purchase two other young and promising players in vital areas for the team.
International regulars Bryan Oviedo and Kevin Mirallas arrived at Goodison Park, as well as teenager Matthew Kennedy, who has been making headlines in the under-21 team this season. Their versatility (Mirallas plays on both flanks as a winger and striker, and the Costa Rican plays left-back, left-midfield and defensive midfield) has been vital for an Everton side with the smallest squad in the Premier League.
Imagining that Fellaini would cost at least double the fee paid for Rodwell, or if Everton could recoup the £30 million figure that has been tossed around in the media , the sale of the towering midfielder could be used to purchase somewhere from four to five experienced first-team players.
Those arrivals could plug holes throughout the team and provide much needed competition for players such as Steven Naismith, Nikica Jelavic, Seamus Coleman, who have drifted in and out of form throughout this current campaign.
But, Fellaini’s transfer would come with tremendous risk. Although the chairman allowed the money gained from the Joleon Lescott to Manchester City move in 2009 to be entirely used on the playing squad, bringing in John Heiteinga, Sylvain Distin, and Dinyar Bilyaletdinov, there is no guarantee that would happen again. The worst-case scenario would be that Everton lose the Belgian, whose versatility and goals have been crucial so far this season, and fail to bring in but one or two mediocre players.
For a number of supporters, there is no worse phrase than “sell-to-buy.” But, at teams like Everton, that is the sad reality when the board is incapable of allowing the club to compete with even smaller sides like Stoke City and Aston Villa financially.
And, with 12 draws this campaign—four more than any team currently in the top six—there is the need for revitalization, newness and hope for Evertonians who have suffered too long and seen historically less successful sides like Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City usurp their beloved Toffees.
If Fellaini leaves in the summer, he will be missed. However, it could work out for the best. That hasn’t been the Everton way over the past decade or so, but it is always a possibility.