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'Man Utd needed more from Fellaini' - China move no surprise to former team-mate

08:36 GMT 01/02/2019
Marouane Fellaini Man Utd 2018
The Belgium international is closing on a switch to Shandong Luneng, with Leon Osman admitting he no longer fit the bill at Old Trafford

Marouane Fellaini was “effective” for Manchester United, says Leon Osman, but the Red Devils are sanctioning a switch to China as they require players who are more “technically gifted”.

The transfer window in the Chinese Super League remains open, so a deal for the Belgium international remains in the pipeline.

It is expected that the 31-year-old will link up with Shandong Luneng, with Goal revealing that talks have been opened.

Fellaini appeared to be on his way to Asia to finalise a move on Thursday, with pictures posted on social media of him at Brussels airport.

A three-year deal is understood to await him at his next destination, with a man who was a firm favourite of Jose Mourinho being allowed to leave in a £10 million ($13m) switch after finding game time hard to come by under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Osman is not surprised to see an exit from Old Trafford being made, with Fellaini’s former Everton team-mate telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “I would say he was more accustomed to a Jose Mourinho style of football [than Solskjaer’s].

“He’s physical, strong, effective at both ends, whereas Manchester United require a much more technically gifted player than, unfortunately, Fellaini’s capable of.

“Effective, that’s the word, for his time at Manchester United, but you can understand why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels him surplus to requirements and I think for all parties it would be best if he found himself elsewhere.

“He’s a nice feller. He took a while to learn the language but a really nice feller, desperate to get involved in the dressing room.

“He really did bring an awful lot to the dressing room as well.

“He’s one of those payers you thought you could rely on and you could turn to him in a desperate situation.

“I feel now, even at United, he won’t be one of those players that will ruffle the dressing room and upset the way things are going.

“I think he will get on with his job as a professional but he will want to play football before his career ends.”

Fellaini is preparing to leave United five-and-a-half years after arriving in a £27.5m ($36m) move from Everton.

He has taken in 177 appearances and scored 22 goals.

A new contract was signed at Old Trafford last summer, with a two-year extension agreed.

He has, however, slipped down the pecking order in the wake of Mourinho’s departure and is now ready to start a new chapter in his career.