Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is open to selling Marouane Fellaini this month, with sources telling ESPN FC that Chinese Super League sides Beijing Gouan and Guangzhou R&F are targeting the Manchester United midfielder.
Fellaini signed a two-year contract worth £100,000-a-week to stay at Old Trafford following the backing of former manager Jose Mourinho last summer. But the 31-year-old has clocked up just three minutes of first team action during Solskjaer’s six-game reign as caretaker manager and the Norwegian is understood to be happy for United to sell Fellaini this month.
Solskjaer revealed on Friday that Fellaini has a “long-term” calf injury, while confirming Alexis Sanchez is set to return against Brighton on Saturday.
“Alexis has trained all week so hopefully he’ll be available and Felli is the long-term one that’s out. He’ll be out for a few weeks,” Solskjaer said. “He’ll probably be at least three or four weeks. He’s got a calf problem and that’s sad.”
But sources have told ESPN FC that it is not serious enough to threaten a move away, especially with the Chinese transfer window open until the end of February. In Europe, the transfer window closes on Jan. 31.
Beijing and Guangzhou, who completed a £9 million deal for Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele this week, are both in the running to sign Fellaini, despite having the maximum number of non-Chinese players in their squads.
Turkish outfit Fenerbahce and AC Milan continue to hold an interest in the former Everton player having attempted to sign him as a free agent last summer. But although United are unlikely to seek a prohibitive fee for Fellaini, the player’s wages would be a problem for both Fenerbahce and Milan.
Fellaini has been a long-term target of Chinese clubs, with Shanghai SIPG and Guanghzou Evergrande previously making offers for the Belgium international. And although he is prepared to fight for his place at United, Solskjaer’s determination to impose a fast, counter-attacking style on the team has limited his opportunities to play.
Meanwhile, Sanchez has been limited to just one start under Solskjaer but came off the bench against Newcastle to set up the second goal in a 2-0 win for Marcus Rashford. The Chilean faces a battle to get back into the team following the 1-0 win against Tottenham last time out but Solskjaer says the 30-year-old has impressed in training this week.
“A player loves to play football, it doesn’t matter who you are and he’s been hindered by injury,” Solskjaer said.
“I know how frustrating that can be and how eager you are to get back. Maybe in the Reading game at half-time he should have told me to come off because the next 15 or 20 minutes were a setback.
“He’s champing at the bit in training. His attitude has been fantastic in training and I’m looking forward to seeing him. I’ve got loads of good players to choose from.”
Information from ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent Rob Dawson was used in this report.