Manchester United have lost their battle to tie Maroune Fellaini to a new contract at Old Trafford with the midfielder reportedly agreeing a move to Turkish side Besiktas ahead of this summer.
The 30-year-old has been used sparingly under Jose Mourinho, but is still very much valued by the Portuguese and concerted efforts have been made to keep him at the club beyond this season.
But according to Turkish outlet Foto Mac, Fellaini has already decided the seek a more prominent role elsewhere and has signed a pre-contract agreement with Besiktas to move once his contract expires on June 30.
Fellaini rejected United’s last offer in September and talks with his agent have moved at a snail’s pace since then. While it was agreed by Old Trafford officials that they would not sell up in January, they appear to have failed in their attempts to keep him.
News of his reported departure is likely to infuriate Mourinho, who put Manchester United officials under pressure to retain the Belgian powerhouse to stay after making it clear how much he values his services.
Indeed, Fellaini’s prominence has grown after an initial patchy start under Mourinho and is now considered a key figure in the squad.
Michael Carrick, 36, is set to retire at the end of the season and Mourinho also wanted to guard against having to replace two experienced central midfielders, especially one that holds a rare set of attributes such as Fellaini’s.
The midfielder has started just three Premier League games this season and appeared off the bench a further nine times. While his lack of action is partly down to fitness issues, Mourinho has also used him as an effective option late on in games.
He has amassed 149 appearances for Manchester United since joining from Everton in 2013 for £27.5million and has dealt with plenty of stigma from fans for being the only major signing to arrive in David Moyes’ one and only summer in charge.