Marouane Fellaini
Marouane Fellaini returned from injury during the second half of Manchester United's defeat to Chelsea Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Speculation linking Marouane Fellaini with a move to Turkey is set to be ignited once again as we head towards the January transfer window, after club official Metin Albayrak admitted Besiktas have "made efforts" to sign the Manchester United midfielder.

Fellaini was heavily mentioned in connection with Galatasaray during the summer after director Cenk Ergun declared that he was "close" to agreeing a surprise switch to Turk Telekom Arena, only for Jose Mourinho to mockingly quip that it would be easier for the Super Lig leaders to prise the manager himself away from Old Trafford.

"Forget it," he said in July. "He's too important to me."

Gala went onto acquire the services of Papa Alioune "Badou" Ndiaye from Osmalispor, while Fellaini, a traditionally divisive figure at Old Trafford who has significantly grown in influence under Mourinho, continued to play a prominent role for United in the absence of Paul Pogba.

He scored four goals before being sidelined for one month as the result of knee ligament damage suffered on international duty with Belgium in Bosnia.

The 29-year-old returned to first-team action during Sunday's (5 November) 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, almost notching an equaliser for the visitors during a productive 28-minute cameo that Mourinho enthusiastically dubbed as "fantastic".

Reigning Turkish champions Besiktas have evidently been impressed by Fellaini's form amid reports they established contact and invited him to Istanbul. Rumours over an imminent transfer were temporarily sparked last week when he was supposedly spotted at a hotel in the city, only for it later to be revealed that the man captured in video footage and various photographs was actually Marouane's twin brother Mansour.

While that proved to be a false alarm, the fact that Besiktas are pursuing a potential deal for Fellaini appears to be no secret. However, Albayrak insists he is far from the only prospective target currently being monitored.

"Fellaini is on our list, we have made efforts to sign him but not just him," he was quoted as saying by turkish-football.com. "He is not the only player we scouted, our scouting team watched 20 games live this week.

"We are keeping tabs on several players. The club has plans for Turkey and Europe, there are negotiations. We want to make the signing for the winter transfer window or for the end of the season."

Whispers regarding a potential exit for Fellaini are likely to persist until his current contract saga is resolved. United triggered a clause to extend the former Standard Liege and Everton midfielder's stay by another year in January this year, although that existing deal expires at the end of the season.

Fellaini is free to speak with overseas suitors as soon as January and Mourinho recently admitted that he was "concerned" by the situation.