MANCHESTER, United Kingdom – David Moyes has defended Manchester United's decision to pay £27.5 million ($43.6 million, 32.8 million euros) for Marouane Fellaini just weeks after the Belgium midfielder was available for a lower price.
Fellaini, 25, became United's only major summer signing when he made the move from Moyes's former club to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day.
Fellaini's contract at Goodison Park included a clause, which expired on July 31, that ensured he could have joined any club that offered £23 million for him.
But Moyes failed with two joint bids for Fellaini and Everton team-mate Leighton Baines, who he made a key transfer target.
After missing out on several high-profile players, including Thiago Alacantara, Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera and Fabio Coentrao, since his arrival at Old Trafford, Moyes was criticised for paying over the odds for Fellaini.
But the United manager insists that his attempts to keep Fellaini and Baines as part of a package was the best chance of signing both players.
“We had chosen to do it because we wanted to get Leighton Baines and we didn't want to give up on that until the last minute. Only at the last minute did we split the deal,” Moyes said on Friday.
Asked about his feelings on the transfer window, Moyes added:
“Very happy, yes. I feel good that it's all over.”
Moyes believes that the addition for Fellaini will give United plenty of different midfield options after targeting that as an area in need of improvement.
“When I brought him to Everton he was someone not a lot of people knew about,” Moyes said.
“We'd seen him in the Europa League and come away thinking 'wow this boy has got a chance', and he never let us down at Everton.
“He's continued to improve, he's well known in the Premier League, can do several jobs and he's effective in different areas.
“If he can continue to improve we could have a top player on our hands.
“He's someone we knew and we knew it was an area we had to strengthen, but with Marouane being able to play further forward it can give us different alternatives as required.
“He's matured and when you watch the Belgium team I always come away thinking he's the best player.”
Fellaini is not concerned about the pressure of becoming the club's fourth most expensive signing ever and is also untroubled by suggestions he was not United's first choice.
The Belgium international also believes he can emulate some of the biggest names to have played for the club.
“Of course Manchester United want big players but I wanted to stay fit and see what happened at the end of the transfer window,” he said.
“The transfer fee is not my problem. £25 million or £30 million or £20 million – whether you are expensive or not, players are just players.
“In the past you have had (Eric) Cantona, Roy Keane, (David) Beckham – I will do my best.
“(Keane) was an aggressive player and maybe I can do this as well. I can win the ball and clear it and play clean so I look forward to it.”
Fellaini was only 20 when Moyes took him to Everton from Standard Liege and the midfielder credits the Scot as a significant influence on his career.
“He gives me a lot of confidence. I was 20 when I came to Everton and it was difficult,” Fellaini added.
“I was young and I didn't know my team-mates or the staff but he gave me confidence and trusted me and I gave my maximum to the club.
“Everton was a great club for me, good team-mates, good memories at Everton and I respect the fans but it was time for me to leave to join a big club.” – Sapa-AFP