Everton - Is Leroy a replacement 'Fer' Fellaini?

Marouane Fellaini

Everton have clinched the surprise signing of Leroy Fer from FC Twente. Surely it doesn't mean Chelsea or the like are going to sign Marouane Fellaini?

Everton's acquisition of Twente midfielder Leroy Fer appeared to catch everybody by surprise, so what's behind the deal?

On the face of it, the signing is an excellent piece of business, we'll know just how good it is come February 1st.

If it transpires he is a replacement for Marouane Fellaini, then it will be bittersweet. Evertonians will be crossing their fingers between now and Thursday.

Both are central midfielders, with a commanding presence on the pitch - Fer's nickname is not 'The Bouncer' for nothing. Leroy Fer is 23, two years younger than 25-year-old Fellaini.

Earlier this transfer window, rumours abounded that Fellaini had a release clause in his contract of £25 million. If that were to be activated, Everton now have an insurance policy in Fer. 

One who could slot straight in, and it would mean their Champions League aspirations will not take too much of a hit. It also means if a late move for Fellaini did come about, Everton will not be scratching around for a replacement at the last minute.

David Moyes found out in August the danger of a late move, as a switch for Vadis Odidja-Ofoe fell through after being filed 'too late' for the FIFA deadline; there's no such danger here.

Signing a player for £8.5 million and selling one for three times that would also be an astute piece of business for a club who announced losses of £5.4 million for last season. However they did make £4 million in profit during the summer transfer window, and tempted by the lucrative sums Champions League football would bring, it may be a case of 'speculate to accumulate'.

The good news for Everton regarding Fellaini is two-fold. Firstly despite mutterings early in the season, the player is showing no signs of wanting to move.

In the summer it may be a different matter, but it will depend largely on where Everton finish in the Champions League reckoning come May. Surely seeing as he is happy at Goodison, it makes sense to stick it out a few more months and see through the challenge. He has been at Everton since 2008, so walking out on them right now makes sense, when they have finally got so close to breaking the glass ceiling.

Secondly the clubs most regularly linked with his signature appear to be dormant as far as transfer activity goes this window. Manchester United are rare winter transfer window buyers, making a rare exception for Wilfried Zaha, a player who won't arrive until July - Don't expect lightning to strike twice here.

The main threat comes from Chelsea, but the Blues have gone quiet after signing Demba Ba early on in the month. With the former Newcastle man the only back-up to Torres, Chelsea's most urgent need is to buy another striker, rather than another central midfielder. But currently the Blues are showing no signs of big moves, with Abramovich seemingly reluctant to spend until he decides on the future of Rafa Benitez - Or who should replace him.

Everton might just get away with keeping the Belgian, it will be up to Fer to settle right away and give the Blues such a lift that they surprise everybody and finish in the top four in May, giving Fellaini every reason to stay.

What do you think, will Fer be a teammate or replacement for Fellaini?

image: © nicksarebi

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch