Last season, seemingly every 'Transfer Flops' list featured Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini somewhere near the top. The Belgian had a very tough first season at Old Trafford - mocked and derided by opposition supporters, while the majority of United fans were far from happy to see him pull on the famous red shirt.
Fellaini looked lost in a United team that struggled and over the summer the writing was on the wall, with interested. Ultimately it seemed that only an untimely injury prevented him from being unceremoniously moved on.
Just a couple of months on, however. Fellaini has suddenly forced his way into Louis van Gaal's team. After a few anonymous performances earlier in the campaign, the 26-year-old performed admirably against West Bromwich Albion, arguably dragging United back into the game in what could have been a watershed moment.
Now, many of the same supporters that once bemoaned his very existence are raving about the star with the famous afro. It highlights the fickle nature of the modern fan and what many couldn't or simply refused to see is that Marouane Fellaini's status as a Manchester United player actually made incredible sense from the very start.
Unfortunately, he was dismissed as sub-standard before he even began and is only just getting the opportunity to prove the doubters wrong, one that he seems to be taking.
New United players are usually heartily greeted by an adoring public, but Fellaini simply wasn't. He cost £27.5million from Everton, the only major signing of the summer and even though it had nothing to do with the player himself, he unfairly bore the brunt of frustrations.
The general failings of David Moyes and Ed Woodward in the transfer market that summer, as well as the club's subsequent poor season also kept the spotlight firmly on Fellaini and it would have been difficult for any new signing to have an impact in such a context.
Fellaini was also rarely fit during his first 12 months at Old Trafford. He was carrying a painful wrist injury in the autumn which limited his initial impact and was forced to undergo surgery in December. He was out for more than six weeks thereafter and when he returned he never managed to regain full fitness before the end of a disappointing season for both player and club.
As a result of the various unhelpful circumstances, Fellaini cannot be judged on his first United season and should not have been written off so soon. He was and is a player that can be a valuable asset for any team he plays for.
Whilst at Everton, Fellaini regularly bullied opponents, especially from the bigger clubs. The bruising Belgian was always seemingly at his best against the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal and who could forget his role for the Toffees at Old Trafford in a 4-4 draw that arguably cost United the title in 2012. A few months later, he then almost single handedly destroyed United in the opening game of the following season, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 Everton win. That is now something he has started to do for United in his last two games and it is certainly effective.
There is also something to be said for now playing in a position on the field where his skills and abilities are at their most potent. Most of Fellaini's appearances last season came as a holding midfield player, tasked with shielding the back four and keeping possession ticking over. However, this season Daley Blind has filled that role exceptionally well, leaving Fellaini to cause trouble further forward.
Against Chelsea at Old Trafford, he proved difficult for Matic and Fabregas to pick up, leaving both players constantly looking over their shoulders and therefore also limiting their own impact. It was also the rebound from his header that fell to Robin van Persie to score the dramatic late equaliser and his general danger at set pieces is another great virtue not really replicated elsewhere in the United squad.
Two good games do not make a player and just as it was premature to write Fellaini off before he started, it is similarly too soon to say with any conviction he is now a success. However, given what he did for years at Everton, combined with the fact that his first season was hindered by injury and other circumstances, his last two performances are enough of a foundation to suggest Fellaini will continue to go from strength to strength in a red shirt.
Most supporters didn't believe it at the time and some may choose still not to because he doesn't have the glamour or the 'wow' factor, but Marouane Fellaini was always a good signing for Manchester United.
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