Belgian international midfielder Marouane Fellaini has left R. Standard de Liège to sign for Everton FC in a transfer worth an initial €18.5m.
Reunion ruled out
Fellaini, who helped Standard to their first Belgian championship in 25 years last season before representing his country at the Beijing Olympics, has accepted a five-year contract with Everton. He becomes the English side's record signing, but will not be available for their UEFA Cup campaign. Everton will meet Standard in the first round of the competition later this month.
The deal brings Fellaini back to Merseyside, where last week he and his Standard team caught the eye despite losing to Liverpool FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round – going down to a 118th-minute goal. In total, he made 64 Eerste Klasse appearances for the Liege club, scoring nine times. Fellaini, part of the Belgium side that reached the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-finals, arrives at Goodison Park armed with ten senior caps and as a long-awaited replacement for holding midfielder Lee Carsley, who departed for Birmingham City FC in May.
Relief for Moyes
His capture also brings relief to manager David Moyes after a day in which Nigeria winger Victor Obinna was denied a work permit to join Everton on loan from FC Internazionale Milano. The Toffees' summer additions had been limited to the loan acquisition of FK Crvena Zvezda midfielder Segundo Castillo and the free transfers of Manchester United FC forward Louis Saha and Denmark defender Lars Jacobsen. Everton also took goalkeeper Carlo Nash, 34, from Wigan Athletic FC for a minimal sum on deadline day. Meanwhile, Standard parted company with another midfielder as Grégory Dufer, 26, went to top-flight rivals AFC Tubize on a season's loan.
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