Fellaini’s reported replacement linked with January move to Manchester United

The man once linked with replacing Marouane Fellaini at Everton has now been tipped for a move to Old Trafford.

As the summer transfer window drew to a close, and Marouane Fellaini waited for his move to Manchester United to be completed, his Everton boss was said to be in London at a work permit hearing for Porto midfielder Fernando.

The Toffees had reportedly agreed a £15million fee for the 26-year-old Brazilian, only to see the move ultimately fall through in the final moments.

And while Roberto Martinez then pushed through moves for James McCarthy and Gareth Barry, Fernando tweeted that he was happy to stay exactly where he was.

But reports from Portugal today claim United themselves could move for the player as soon as January.

LIVE Premier League match alerts to your phone - goals, red cards, half and full-time scores

Newspaper A Bola reports that Fernando will not sign a new deal with Porto and will instead move on either this summer or when the transfer window reopens next year.

Given that his current contract expires in the summer, the Portuguese champions may attempt to sell him rather than lose him on a free, but much is said to depend on Porto’s remaining participation in the Champions League beyond the group stage.

A Bola reports that along with the long-term interest of Inter Milan and Juventus in the player, “along comes the mighty Manchester United”.

It is no secret that David Moyes requires further midfield reinforcements, and for a minor outlay, a move could make sense.

Playing solely as a defensive midfielder, Fernando could offer the protection Fellaini has failed to since his summer move. While he starred on his debut against Bayer Leverkusen, he has since looked off the pace and easily navigated around.

And while this is just the latest rumour months before anything can actually be done about it, given the cost involved and the calibre of player, it may ultimately happen.

See also: Could player's advice stop 'new Schmeichel' signing for Manchester United?

image: © superleagueformula

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch