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Manchester United will be without Marouane Fellaini for six weeks after they decided to send him for surgery on an ongoing wrist injury.
The 26-year-old combative Belgium international midfielder, who has struggled for form since moving to Old Trafford from Everton in a £27.5million summer transfer, suffered the wrist problem against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on October 2.
However, with Michael Carrick also absent with an Achilles injury, he continued playing with a protective cast on the wrist until a recent back injury kept him on the sidelines.
Boss David Moyes revealed last week that if the back issue was going to keep him out for a spell then they would get the wrist operated on at the same time which now appears to be the case.
United will hope to have Fellaini back before they resume their Champions League challenge against Olympiakos in February, with the home clash against Fulham on February 9 or the trip to face
Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium the following Wednesday night two potential return dates. In the meantime, Moyes will hope the likes of Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones, who has been pushed further forward from his favoured defensive position, will continue impressing in the engine room after two successive Premier League wins – against Aston Villa and West Ham – sandwiched a 2-0 Capital One Cup win at Stoke last Wednesday.
There is also the possibility of a swoop in the January transfer window with Moyes confirming that he will be looking for reinforcements and a playmaker is thought to be top of his wanted list.