Marouane Fellaini’s nightmare time at Manchester United could be about to end as the club are in negotiations with Napoli regarding the midfielder, whose £27.5m fee last summer made him the fourth most expensive player in the club’s history.

Fellaini is thought to be minded to make the move to Italy, although he is still weighing up the decision. Whether it would be a permanent transfer or loan deal is also in the balance.

United would prefer to sell the player and are bracing themselves to take a sizeable loss on him, with any fee in the region of £15m understood to be considered good business. Napoli, though, want to take Fellaini on a temporary basis as the Italian club have straitened finances and are trying to remove players from their books.

With Fellaini on about £100,000 a week, his terms may also be an issue if it were to be a permanent transfer. Despite the Belgian’s disappointing form since joining United – he failed to score a goal for the club and was unlucky with injuries – Rafael Benítez, the Napoli head coach, believes the player’s physicality could be utilised in Serie A.

The move away from United is being presented to Fellaini as a chance to rebuild his career and an opportunity to play Champions League football as United are not in the competition next season.