Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has announced he will look to leave Goodison Park next season, or maybe even earlier.
Fellaini's decision will give manager David Moyes a rather large headache, given the Belgian international's importance to the team and the difficulty in finding a replacement on Everton's meagre budget.
"'I am just starting my fifth season at Everton, this will be one of my last. I have seen everything. In January or at the end of the season I will turn to another club or championship," the 24-year-old told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
Fellaini joined the Toffees in 2008 for a club record £15m, after, surprisingly, rejecting advances from a number of top teams, including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Since then, the midfielder has established himself as one of the best in the Premier League, and has scored 22 times for the club in 140 appearances. He has been in exceptional form this season, scoring twice in three games; most importantly the winning goal in the season opener against Manchester United.
Fellaini's contract with the club runs till 2016, which means any attempt at a January transfer, as the player hints, is likely to start what could become an acrimonious war of words between club and player. Everton have already lost one key player in the midfield - England youngster Jack Rodwell - to champions Manchester City and Moyes would probably prefer not to lose any more. However, should Fellaini make a move, the frugal Scot will almost certainly demand top money from interested parties.
European champions Chelsea and Spanish giants Real Madrid have been linked with the player in the recent past. At the time, although Fellaini dismissed interest, he did state he wanted to play in the Champions League at some point in his career, or even the Europa League.
"I am ambitious; I want to play in the Champions League or in the Europa League. Last season we finished seventh with Everton, and we were not able to qualify for Europe, which was a shame. If an ambitious club comes in for me? Why not?" the player said.