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Manchester United sign Marouane Fellaini on day of high farce

Updated: Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 12:14 | Comments

Marouane Fellaini has joined Manchester United
Marouane Fellaini has joined Manchester United

Manchester United managed to salvage Marouane Fellaini from an otherwise shambolic deadline day that descended into farce when three imposters strode into La Liga offices pretending to be officials of the Old Trafford outfit.

United's attempt to sign Fabio Coentrao on loan also collapsed because the paperwork could not be completed on time.

That it was three hours after the deadline closed - at 2am on Tuesday morning - before Fellaini was finally confirmed by United just about summed up what turned into ludicrous evening.

Indeed, when executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward left United's pre-season tour to Australia on 18 July on "urgent transfer business" he could not have left it any later to actually do any business.

But the drama prior to Fellaini's arrival will probably live longer in the memory than the Belgian's transfer itself.

Certainly questions should be asked as to how three imposters managed to get into Spanish league headquarters for discussions about the proposed transfer of Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao.

The trio left an hour later, apparently unable to complete the paperwork required to complete the deal.

Yet United claim they knew nothing of their existence. And as it turned out, the Herrera deal collapsed shortly afterwards anyway, with Moyes believing a €36million clause in the player's contract was too high.

So, even though the 24-year-old was keen to make the switch, United backed off, although Moyes remains a fan and could revisit the deal in January.

Shortly after that, Fellaini was driven to Everton's training ground at Finch Farm, where he handed in a transfer request in an attempt to break the impasse over his proposed switch.

Having had a joint £28million bid for Fellaini and Leighton Baines slammed as "derisory and insulting" by his former club, Moyes found Everton chairman Bill Kenwright in no mood to offer the Belgium international an easy passage out of Goodison Park.

It was only minutes before the deadline closed that Fellaini was given the green light to rush through a £27.5million deal - £4million more than United would have paid had they exercised an option in the player's contract which expired at the end of July.

Fellaini will bolster United's midfield options, which have seemed an obvious weakness for a number of years.

He also provides a goal threat, having scored 12 times last season, including the winner against United on the opening day of the campaign.

In a midfield where no-one other than Shinji Kagawa managed more than two, it provides the potential for obvious improvement.

However, with Herrera remaining in Bilbao and Real Madrid flatly rejecting a big-money offer for Sami Khedira, Moyes did not make the improvements he would have hoped for.

In fact, Real eventually proved to be a thorn in United's side as the Spanish giants scrapped what would have been a face-saving loan for Portugal defender Fabio Coentrao.

With his hopes of landing Leighton Baines at an end, Moyes turned to Coentrao as an answer to what he clearly feels is a problem position.

But, whilst the initial paperwork was sent to the Premier League on time, Real opted not to complete the final part of the transfer as their own recruitment drive had stalled.

It meant FIFA were unable to confirm the loan and Coentrao will remain in the Spanish capital, leaving Moyes with the tricky task of reassuring Patrice Evra about his future even though he has clearly attempted to bring in two alternative left-backs.

It was a further setback in a transfer window not many United fans will remember with any affection given the high profile targets they had all the way through it, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas, none of whom ended up actually arriving at the club.

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