Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants to extend Marouane Fellaini's contract at Old Trafford and will instruct the Red Devils hierarchy to tie the much-maligned Belgian international down to a new deal.
Fellaini has not exactly excelled since signing from Everton for £27.5m ($34m) in the summer of 2013 but Mourinho, who has defended the 29-year-old from his detractors on a couple of occasions this season, sees value in the afro-sporting midfielder and has a place for him in his Old Trafford plans, according to ESPN.
Manchester United stalwarts Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney are set to leave at the end of the season – the latter has been strongly linked with a return to boyhood club Everton – and the supposed departure of the duo would leave Mourinho with little room to manoeuvre in the centre of midfield.
The Portuguese harbours an interest in Monaco midfield general Tiemoue Bakayoko but is also keen on maintaining the services of Fellaini, whose contract runs out at the end of next season. Mourinho has told Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward to extend the former Standard Liege protege's deal until 2019 as a reward for his displays this season, which may come as a surprise to some of the club's supporters.
Fellaini has never truly won over large sections of the Old Trafford fanbase and was booed while warming up on the sideline during his side's game against Tottenham in December. Nevertheless, Mourinho is a firm admirer of the gangly Belgian and could well start him in his side's clash against Everton on Tuesday evening (4 April).
United lost ground on the Champions League positions last weekend as they drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion and could be leapfrogged by Ronald Koeman's men should they emerge victorious. History does not favour the Toffees, though; they have only won once at Old Trafford this century.