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Manchester United in pole-position to sign Fred this summer

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is seeking to reinforce his midfield this summer with Michael Carrick set to retire and Marouane Fellaini seemingly leaving the Old Trafford club on the expiry of his contract this summer. United have been linked to many midfielders throughout the season from Carlos Soler to Jean-Michael Seri and Jorginho to Arturo Vidal. One mainstay being linked to the Theatre of Dreams is Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder, Fred.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the Old Trafford outfit is in ‘pole-position’ for the Brazilian with Manchester City, who were reportedly opting to bring the Brazilian to Manchester during the January transfer window, now ruling themselves out of a move for Fred. The 25-year-old midfielders representatives wanted both Manchester clubs to go head to head for the Brazilian this summer, which would see the fee rise, meaning more money for their own pockets.

That does not seem to be the case now, meaning United may be able to sign the player for a more reasonable fee. Fred is said to be interested in a move to the Premier League and United seem to be the only club interested in him right now, although that could change as we head into the actual transfer window, which will open earlier and close earlier this season with all moves set to be confirmed before the start of the new Premier League season.

Fred has seven caps for Brazil and will be hoping to make the 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, although it is said he only has an outside chance of that happening. Mourinho has already stated that the club will be investing in the squad this summer, needing to replace both Carrick and Fellaini, which will strengthen the midfield but also alluding that not all players to strengthen the squad will be new acquisitions, mentioning the talented youth players the manager will have at his disposal.

“We are going to invest the basic to improve our squad. We need to find a replacement for Michael Carrick, if Marouane Fellaini leaves, we need to find a replacement for Marouane Fellaini. There is always in the group of players, in the squad, there is always a player or a couple of players, they are not playing a lot, and they will try obviously to leave.

“So we are going again to touch our squad and to believe that more than spend, spend, spend, is probably the evolution of our players. We have some young players that need to get with both hands opportunities with their evolution, so let’s see.”

This season, Fred has played 2,867 minutes for his club. He has played 23 times in the Ukrainian Premier League, amassing 1,991 minutes of action, two appearances in the Ukrainian Cup, playing 156 minutes, also playing eight times in the UEFA Champions League, amassing a total of 720 minutes of action. His experience, in a first team sense, would be right for United. It is a question as to whether his ability would be right for the club. That could be answered by looking at his stats this season, maybe even comparing them to United players. It still will not give an indication.

Fred has scored twice this season (once in the Ukrainian Premier League, another in the UEFA Champions League), also assisting a further goal. Whilst that is not something that many will be impressed with, it suggests he is a different type of midfielder, not one who is always going to score goals. You need players within a team who do other things. Defensively, Fred offers an average of 2.9 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 0.8 clearances and 0.4 blocks per match.

Offensively, he is not all that bad either, offering an average of 1.6 shots, 1.1 key passes, and 2.9 dribbles per match. He does seem to find himself being dispossessed a lot of the time, an average of 1.9 times per match, also losing the ball through bad control 2.6 times each match. His passing does not seem the best either with just 56.8% of his passes reaching a teammate. These stats are solely from the UEFA Champions League though, so it does not tell all that big of a story.

Fred, just like any other player out there, has strengths and weaknesses. His main strengths are said to be his key passes, defensive contribution, passing and long shots. The main weakness is his aerial ability, which is not a major problem with United having height throughout the team. It is stated that Fred often gets fouled, he is a counter-attacking threat, likes to dribble, and get stuck into a tackle. Fred has been booked 12 times this season, also receiving a second yellow card and being sent off.

The reliance on Nemanja Matic as the defensive midfielder this season is something that should not be repeated next season, especially with United having to assemble a side to challenge Premier League champions Manchester City, also contend with the best in Europe to ensure a place in at least the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. United have improved massively this season, winning more matches, especially against top six clubs, also drawing fewer matches and scoring more goals. This summer is even more important because of what United need to achieve.

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