With all the talk of Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez in recent weeks, it is easy to forget that there was another man frequently mentioned as a contender for player of the year for much of the first half of the season, when Marouane Fellaini was delivering a succession of excellent performances to launch Everton into the upper reaches of the table.
Everton resisted all attempts to buy the Belgian in January, hoping his influence could see them claim a Champions League place even if they then had to sell him in the summer. However since then Fellaini's form has dipped markedly, and worse than that, his poor behaviour has rankled with more than a few Everton fans.
On the pitch Everton's season hit a low with the 3-0 loss at home to Wigan in the FA Cup, and Fellaini reacted angrily by gesturing to fans who were unimpressed with his lacklustre display. Fellaini was quickly substituted and stormed straight down the tunnel, before then cancelling an autograph signing session on Monday.
All of this will have no doubt made Everton pretty keen to cash in on the Belgian in the summer, but is there still going to be interest from teams prepared to pay the £20+ million fee that have been mentioned all season?
Fellaini has shown that he can be an incredible player, but his current slump in form will not have impressed any of the top teams around Europe he wishes to join. Add in the fact that most of those sides have big enough squads that Fellaini will have to accept being rotated, and his attitude will be something that worries any interested parties.
Fellaini is clearly now just planning to get through to the summer and then make his move away from Everton, but he might find that unless he improves a great deal on and off the pitch, with a high asking price being sought for his signature by his club, he might not have as many options as he expects come the end of the season.
image: © nicksarebi