Everton, Arsenal & Fulham linked again to free agent dubbed “The new Fellaini”

    Arsenal, Everton and Fulham have been given the chance to snap up a player hailed as the new Marouane Fellaini for virtually nothing after Junior Malanda emerged from hiding and claimed he was a free agent according to the Daily Mail

    Malanda has been linked a number of times over the last few weeks and is seen as one of the best young players in Belgium.

    The 18-year old Belgium Under 21 midfielder went AWOL from his club Zulte Waregem last week, in an effort to force a move to one of his Barclays Premier League suitors.

    He finally surfaced, after being incommunicado for almost a week, and immediately put Arsenal, Everton and Fulham on alert by insisting he was no longer tied to Zulte.

    A Belgian labour law known as Law 78 allows players to free themselves from contracts, though there is an unwritten rule among the country’s top-flight clubs that they will not sign anyone who becomes available that way.

    It is intended to dissuade players from opting out of their contractual obligations, but there is nothing to stop teams from other countries stepping in and offering them a fresh start.

    Once a player who has utilised Law 78 joins another club, a Belgian tribunal fixes a compensation figure for the club he has left, though this is invariably a minimal amount.

    Malanda, a powerful defensive midfielder tipped to make as big an impact on the game as fellow-countryman Fellaini, confirmed he is now on the market for next-to-nothing by saying: ‘I broke my contract with Zulte in order to pursue better options for my career in a bigger league, like the Premier League or Bundesliga. My aim is to play in England or Germany, and I hope that now happens.’

    Malanda, who is training with a small team near Waregem to maintain his fitness, would have joined Fulham in January but for the Craven Cottage club failing to push through a near-£6million deal before the window shut.

    They will now face competition from Arsenal, who have been linked with Fellaini, and Everton for a player who is now likely to cost less than one-tenth of his original valuation.


    Think Malanda would be a decent signing?  Have your say at

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