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Mercato Madness: Fellaini injury kills deal for midfielder

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Another midfield target gets close, another deal dies. This one at least can't be blamed on Napoli at all.

Alex Livesey

It's really starting to seem like Napoli is cursed this transfer window. Yet another transfer deal thought to be close to completion is dead on arrival, as a potentially serious training injury for Marouane Fellaini has ruled out any potential for his loan deal to get done.

The Manchester United midfielder hurt his ankle in training on Wednesday, and team doctors fear that he's damaged ligaments in his ankle. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Aurelio De Laurentiis nixed the deal as soon as he was updated to Fellaini's condition and instructed Riccardo Bigon to move on to his backup targets.

That almost certainly means a renewal of interest in Sandro of Tottenham Hotspur and Lucas Leiva of Liverpool, two players who were top-shelf defensive midfielders before being felled by serious knee injuries over the last few years that have left both players struggling somewhat to get back to their full form. Both Brazilians are eager to get back in to the national team picture, but both might have a hard time doing so with their current clubs. Even though both are long-time players where they are with deep connections to their club, both have expressed being open to a move that would benefit their careers.

Some have been quick to blame Bigon for not getting the deal done before Fellaini's injury, but this is in no way his fault. United proved very difficult to work with on this deal despite their supposed desire to get Fellaini off their books; every time a deal seemed close, they shifted the goalposts on what would get the deal done and made it harder for Napoli to bite the bullet and bring the Belgian in. The English club being stuck with an unwanted player is their fault, not Napoli's.