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David Moyes is set to have clear-the-air talks with Marouane Fellaini over the midfielder’s claims he could quit Everton in January.
Fellaini put out a retraction on Facebook, insisting he is happy at Goodison, but Moyes is still expected to speak to him to establish the truth.
The Blues boss has carefully nurtured Fellaini since signing him for a club record £15million in 2008, and rewarded him last season with a five-year contract to make him the club’s best-paid player on £75,000-a-week.
He will want to know that the Belgium star is committed to Everton when he returns to Finch Farm in the next 24 hours following tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Croatia.
Moyes may also want to speak to Fellaini about his claims, in the same interview in Belgium over the weekend, that he would prefer a box-to-box role, rather than the attacking position he has been used in more recently by Everton.
Club officials were surprised to read Fellaini’s comments and were said to be baffled and dismayed.
Fellaini, 24, who has attracted attention from Chelsea and Real Madrid, is keen to quell the storm caused by his comments.
He insists there is no need to doubt his loyalty to the Blues and says he does not want to leave.
“I was surprised to read in some newspapers that I will leave Everton very soon, and perhaps next January,” said the midfielder, who has made an impressive start to the season, scoring twice.
“Let me remind you that I am happy in Liverpool and our start to the championship was good.
“Kevin Mirallas and some other good players joined us to make us a better squad.
“So with Everton, I’m ready to play all the season and to reach our goals of this season.”
Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini will not be disciplined for suggesting he wanted to leave next year.
His comments, made while on international duty, are known to have been greeted with disappointment and surprise by the club.
Sources insist the 24-year-old has never given any indication of angling for a move having signed a lucrative five-year contract last November.
It is understood Fellaini will not be subject to sanctions when he returns to the club's Finch Farm training ground later this week, although he may have to explain himself to manager David Moyes, and club officials hope the Belgian will be wiser for the experience.
Fellaini sought to diffuse the comments, which it is understood he does not deny saying during a press conference after training with his national side in Anderlecht on Saturday, by issuing a statement on his Facebook page.
'I was very surprised to read in some newspapers that I will leave Everton very soon and perhaps next January,' he wrote.
'Let me remind you that I am very happy in Liverpool and our start of the championship was good.
'Kevin Mirallas and some other good players joined us to make a better squad.
'So with Everton, I am ready to play all the season and to reach our goals of this season.'
Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported Fellaini as saying: 'I have started my fifth season at Everton.
'This will be one of my last seasons. I have seen everything. In January, or at the end of the season, I will look for another club or league.'
Everton saw a loan deal for Fellaini's compatriot Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe fall through after FIFA refused to ratify the transfer on Friday and it seems unlikely they will seek to overturn that decision.
While the Toffees have said they will assess all available options before considering an appeal, their only probable avenue of recourse is through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
That could take months rather than weeks and, as the agreement with Club Brugge was only for a loan, a lengthy appeal process does not seem likely as the transfer window reopens in January.
Everton are understood to be unhappy FIFA took a week to come to their conclusion, but the problem appears to have been encountered in Belgium.
The Toffees had their necessary paperwork registered in time for the 11pm deadline only for them to discover Brugge had not quite managed to do the same at their end.
While the Premier League and Football Association supported Everton's claims, as the deal required international clearance it had to be sanctioned by FIFA and they would not rubber stamp it.
NIKICA JELAVIC has warned two of his Everton FC team-mates he is hungry for more trade-mark goals on international duty tonight.
The Toffees striker displayed his usual first-time killer instinct to bag Croatia’s winner over Macedonia on Friday, and is on the hunt for more when he faces a Belgian side featuring Marouane Fellaini and Kevin Mirallas in Brussels this evening.
Jelavic provided the perfect finish to Mario Mandzukic’s cross within six minutes of coming off the bench to get new boss Igor Stimac’s reign off to a perfect start in his national team’s previous outing.
He said: "I dedicate that goal to the Croatian people and hope I can score again on Tuesday.
"We knew that Macedonia might and would defend, but with Mario I found the opening anyway. What we did remains a secret between me and Mandzukic.
"Offensively against Belgium, we will have more opportunities."
The former Rangers man will be guaranteed a warm return to Finch Farm later this week, although Fellaini’s may be rather more muted.
His reported comments about seeking a Goodison exit next summer, made while on international duty on Saturday, were greeted with disappointment and surprise by the club.
But sources insist the 24-year-old will not be subject to sanctions although he may have to explain himself to David Moyes, and club officials hope the Belgian will have learned from the experience.
Meanwhile, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka could both start for England against Ukraine at Wembley.
Baines netted his first international goal on his first competitive start for the Three Lions on Friday and is set to keep his place with Ashley Cole ruled out through injury.
Jagielka faces competition from Gary Cahill for a role in the team at centre-half after Chelsea’s John Terry, also nursing an ankle complaint, withdrew from the squad on Sunday.
Tim Howard will also be in action for the USA, and the 33-year-old is confident that when the international break is over he can enjoy a successful season with his club.
He said: "David Moyes has a real good recipe for success. He doesn’t just bring in every good player available, he brings in guys who can play two positions who will also buy into the Everton way. And then he guides them along.
"He’s an incredible motivator and he gets better at it every year. We now want to finish in the top six and get into Europe.
"The Champions League might be a stretch because we can’t spend the same kind of money as the five or six clubs in England who can.
"But on the pitch I think we have what it takes to do well in the Premier League. And getting back to Wembley would be great, too."
EVERTON FC officials were today baffled and dismayed by Marouane Fellaini’s reported admission in a Belgian newspaper that he wants to leave next summer.
The 24-year-old is even understood to have said he would be open to departing in January, during a press conference after training with his national side in Anderlecht on Saturday.
Fellaini, who only last November signed a five-year contract which made him Everton’s highest earner on £75,000-per-week, apparently has his heart set on a move despite his current club’s impressive start to the Premier League season.
Last night the player issued a statement on his Facebook page insisting he was happy with the Blues, and would not seek a transfer in January – although he made no further comments about his plans next summer.
“I have started my fifth season at Everton,” Fellaini reportedly told Het Nieuwsblad. “This will be one of my last seasons. I have seen everything.
“In January, or at the end of the season, I will look for another club or league.”
Fellaini also expressed disappointment that his Belgian team-mate Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe had been denied clearance from FIFA to complete a loan move to Everton from Club Brugge.
He added: “Unfortunately, Vadis hasn’t joined us at Everton. Maybe he can come later.”
It is likely David Moyes will ask the midfielder to explain his remarks when he reports back to Finch Farm for training later this week, following Belgium’s clash with Croatia in Brussels on Tuesday.
Fellaini was also reported to have spoken about his preference for a different remit than the attacking role he has been deployed in by the Blues in recent games.
“At Everton I always have to play as a number 10,” he added in the press conference with Belgian football reporters.
“It has worked out and I have no problem with it but it is not really my game. With the national team I play as a number eight, box to box midfielder and that is a position that suits me.”
Fellaini has enjoyed an impressive start to the new Premier League season, scoring twice in three appearances.
Speculation has previously arisen linking the former Standard Liege player with moves to Chelsea and Real Madrid, but retaining his services this summer has contributed to the upbeat mood around Everton so far this term.
Fellaini referred to that positive mood in his Facebook statement. He wrote: “I was very surprised to read in some newspapers that I will leave Everton very soon and perhaps next January.
“Let me remind you that I am very happy in Liverpool and our start of the championship was good. Kevin Mirallas and some other good players joined us to make a better squad.
“So with Everton, I am ready to play all the season and to reach our goals of this season.”
Meanwhile, Everton will seek legal advice before deciding whether to appeal against FIFA’s decision on Friday not to allow their loan move for Odjidja-Ofoe to go ahead.