Why United must do a Robbie Keane on Fellaini if Everton make top four

Marouane Fellaini

David Moyes needs to take a leaf out of Rafael Benitez's book of transfer fixes and ditch Marouane Fellaini should Everton qualify for the Champions League.

The £27.5 million misfit has been an embarrassment for the new manager of Manchester United having been his only summer signing in a window that had reportedly promised fans the arrival of Cesc Fabregas at Old Trafford.

Yet so far Fellaini has failed to live up to his own standards that were set while at Goodison Park let alone any comparisons with the Barcelona playmaker.

When played in central midfield he has looked clumsy and out of his depth, failing to control simple passes or run with the ball without threatening to topple over in a lanky heap. For the Toffees he was a player opponents feared and defenders dreaded going up against.

United discovered just how dangerous he could be when they were beaten by Everton 1-0 at the start of last season. In that game the Belgian was outstanding, walking through the visitors' midfield like it didn't exist and taking down long-balls on his chest to put Alex Ferguson's team under pressure.

He even scored the winning header to grab all three points for Moyes' team and kick start their season with a major victory against a side who would go on to win the title a few months later.

  Marouane Fellaini
Team Man Utd
Pos MF
Goals / apps 0
Goal Assist / apps 0
Challenge Lost / apps 1.07
Fouls / apps 2.07
Dispossessed / apps 1.40
Duel Lost / apps 7.13
Apps 15

There's been none of that from him in a United shirt and since his move in September he's been a total damp squib. Even worse, he's paired his poor performances with some horrendous and unnecessary behaviour towards fellow professionals that has no place in the modern game.

If Roberto Martinez can lift Everton into the Champions League, the man he replaced on Merseyside needs to go cap in hand to his successor and suggest Fellaini is returned to the club where he made his name in English football. Any deal would be reminiscent of the return sale of Robbie Keane from Liverpool to Tottenham Hotspur in January 2009, just six months after he arrived at Anfield.

A similar deal for Fellaini that would suit all parties. Under Martinez, before he left Goodison Park, the Belgian looked as good as ever. He scored a vital extra-time winner in the League Cup against Stevenage in August 2013 and looked impressive in the three Premier League games he played under the Spaniard.

Everton are going to need reinforcements if they're to keep a top four spot and win big games in the Champions League. Although the Belgian has failed to make a positive impact on the competition at United, in more familiar surroundings, and in the same line up as Leighton Baines, he could wreak havoc on the glamour clubs of Europe.

Look at the how fragile Paris Saint-Germain looked when faced with Chelsea's Demba Ba. It's an old cliche that the clubs of the continent don't like being roughed up but it's one that's stuck with us for a reason.

In the hands of Martinez too, who knows what Fellaini could become. The man who sold him to Moyes is now talking about building up Baines in the image of Philipp Lahm. Even if that plan never comes to pass, just think of the confidence boost for the player. Would his former manager, who is currently facing the prospect a job hunt if things don't improve, have ever suggested something so forward-thinking? Judging by the noises coming out of Old Trafford about unhappy players, barbarian training sessions and a lack of ideas, it doesn't seem likely.

But it could all come crashing down around the Blues next year should the key players they currently have on loan fail to return. Gareth Barry has been a revelation when fit as the strong and mature senior midfielder, especially when it comes to covering for younger players such  as Ross Barkley. Who's to say that with Martinez's guidance, the man well on his way to becoming the biggest flop to ever play for the red half of Manchester can't become the iron rod at the heart of the Liverpudlian blues' midfield.

Unshackled from Moyes' tactics, Everton have flown the coop. Fellaini may now wish he'd stayed behind to take flight with them if they do land in the Champions League come May. If United cut their losses, he may be able to make any such wish come true this summer.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch