Just as things look to be moving in the right direction at Everton, rumours of Marouane Fellaini’s plan to leave in the summer will not go down well on Merseyside.
Losing Jack Rodwell and Tim Cahill, two players that were once crucial to the team’s spine, has not had the detrimental effect many believed it would do at the start of the season.
In fact, Everton have started courageously with a stellar performance against Manchester United summing up the importance of keeping their star players.
Fellaini possesses the determination and aggression that is matched by few others, and along with his heading ability, it is obvious why he is such an asset in the Premier League.
But the big Belgian has reportedly spoken to Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad and claimed this season will be his last as a Toffee as he looks to move on.
If anything, this suggests he does not believe Everton are a side that can challenge for a Champions League spot and certainly not the league title.
Having seen Clint Dempsey and team-mate Rodwell move to sides that can almost certainly compete against Europe’s elite, Fellaini feels at 24, he will need to develop elsewhere.
Fellaini said: “I am just starting my fifth season at Everton, this will be one of my last. I have seen everything. In January or at the end of the season I will turn to another club or championship.”
Normally when your country’s best player is ruled out of an important match against your main World Cup qualification rivals you are pretty distraught – but although Ashley Cole will miss the Ukraine game, England have nothing to fear thanks to Leighton Baines.
The Everton left-back was top notch on Friday night against Moldova as he has been for the past few years at his club, raising the question why he has not moved on to bigger and better things.
In most other national sides, Baines would have 30-plus caps to his name by now, but because of Cole’s brilliance he has simply had to sit on the bench.
Baines must also be admired for that – especially when other England players have turned their noses up at getting on the plane for those long away trips.
Yes there were the bizarre circumstances that saw him left at home for the 2010 World Cup in favour of Stephen Warnock because of his apparent “homesickness”, but both the player and his national side seem to have put that behind themselves now.
It will be great to see Baines play in such an important game for his country, and as he showed against Moldova he provides a threat from free-kicks.
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