Player Focus: Fred’s Resurgence

Manchester United managed a respectable 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which was a good result considering recent form

Interim manager Michael Carrick setup a vastly changed side, which included a surprising decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo. However, in a very defensive game for United, it was Fred who stood out with his pressing and interceptions. 

Over the last few weeks it seems Fred has undergone a resurgence, pressing high against Villarreal to win the ball back that led to a Ronaldo goal, while also doing well against Watford despite the loss.

Naturally the buzz around United is currently regarding confirmation of incoming interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who is notorious for his famous gegenpressing system. This combined with Fred’s recent improved performance has sparked conversation around the potential for Fred to become an integral player under the new United boss.

Rangnick, if confirmed as new interim manager, will undoubtedly bring a higher intensity pressing game to United– one which will favour players with energy and tenacity. This new approach and setup could be brilliant for the 28-year-old Brazilian Fred, who thrives when working to press the opposition and intercept loose balls. 

In the current United setup, it seems like Fred is given more licence as a traditional defensive midfielder, something which Fred is certainly not, mainly due to his lack of quality on the ball. However, in a system that relies less on dithering on the ball but rather quick interceptions and passes forward, Fred could be transformed. 

German coach Rangnick is a bit of a godfather in football, his revolutionary gegenpressing system a model used by a plethora of modern coaches; including Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp. This is a testament to the knowledge and experience of the incoming Manchester United manager, who may be able to get the best out of Fred. 

It’s not just Rangnick’s system that may benefit Fred though, it’s his attention to detail and meticulous individual coaching too, something that Fred hasn’t had a lot of in recent years at United. It’s clear that Fred isn’t going to produce an artful world-class display week in week out, but if coached correctly, he can stick to a game plan and carry it out very well. 

The debate around whether United have actually had any concrete tactics or game plan in recent years rages on, but rest assured Rangnick will bring all of that and more- which will be to the benefit of several United players. Additionally, Fred is unlike any other current United players in the sense that he’s an engine, covering every blade of grass in most performances. 

This attribute is rare (especially at United presently) and paired with a cohesive tactical plan it will reap the benefits for the team in the future.

Just like fellow United midfielder Paul Pogba, Fred seems to excel or play generally well when playing for his country, but this is not replicated at club level. This repeated pattern of players performing at national level but not for United is a syndrome of sorts for the club, but it has to be indicative of a fundamental issue somewhere at a tactical or management level. 

Once again United’s failure to get the best out of Fred, a player with marvellous potential, is more reflective of the mismanagement of the club in terms of planning and scouting for specific positions, while also not focusing enough on tactics in depth. 

Gone are the days where United can sign a multifunctional midfielder to fill the gaps it seems, as most of the top teams now employ specialists in each position to carry out a certain tactical plan.

It’s easy to forget that Fred was a player United had signed for £47 million from Shakhtar Donetsk, which many would argue hasn’t been repaid with performances. Now with over three years at the club, Fred has mostly failed to shine and is often labelled a liability in the United squad, but some of this could be down to him being utilised inefficiently. 

If Rangnick can manage to get the best out of Fred, then United could finally see a player worth his transfer value, a valuable asset to any midfield when at his best.

Written by Sam Wilson

Is Fred of the standard a Manchester United player should be?

Since Fred’s arrival at Manchester United in 2018 for £47 million, he’s been the subject of support but also on the contrary a lot of criticism. He’s never been seen as the perfect player but with the gradual improvement in the United squad the issues in the middle are coming to the surface more prominently. 

Fred’s time at the club so far has been mixed. When he arrived in 2019 for such an expensive transfer fee, expectations were high. Fred struggled to settle in for many months and rarely played under then coach Jose Mourinho. Even back then United had midfield issues and as he settled, he was seen as the man to change that. 

In the 2018/19 season he only played 17 games in the league racking up 1,044 minutes whereas in the 2019/20 season he played 29 games with 2,159 minutes which was over double the previous season. This illustrates Fred’s progression since his signing as with a consistent run of games in the team he looked far more secure and became one of the first names on the team sheet. 

This season, his place is more competitive as with Paul Pogba dropping into midfield but still racking up assists, he becomes un-droppable and Nemanja Matic’s strong performances also give him a shout for starting.

To ensure Fred’s stays in this United team he must prove to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he is fit to play in a more adventurous pivot and not always the timid approach seen for most of last season. 

If he can become that proper defensive midfielder and not half of one, he could sustain his place in the team for years to come but with a midfielder high up on the list of priorities next summer he must show this progression very soon to have a chance of keeping his spot.

Fred usually sits in a two-man pivot often with Scott McTominay and sometimes Pogba or Matic. Despite originally playing in an advanced role for Shakhtar Donetsk his best qualities are more defensive. Fred has a fantastic engine which helps him power through games enabling him to press well even in the latter stages of games. 

He’s got a low centre of gravity and is very tenacious meaning he can cover ground quickly and can stick a foot in to stop oppositions attacks. The main issue with Fred is his overall game. He has some strong attributes but needs someone next to him to complete a one-man role.

He’s often played as United’s defensive midfielder, and the key fundamental parts of that role is the shielding of the back four, collecting the ball off the centre halves, transitioning it forward and just basic progression of the ball. 

Fred lacks in each of these areas. Unlike more natural defensive midfielders like Fabinho or Fernandinho, Fred can’t read the game to the highest degree and thus can leave the defence exposed meaning Solskjaer often feels like he must put a more solid midfielder next to him. He can intercept some passes, but his positioning can be off and when countered the game can pass him by. 

Furthermore, his first touch is quite weak which means when passing out the back, Fred can be susceptible to losing control of the ball and being put under pressure from the oppositions press or just give the ball away with his lose passing. He often needs excess touches to get the ball under control and when he does pass its often sideways or a loose pass forward. 

This lack of ball progression ability hinders United as a team’s overall play as the ball can’t be transitioned quickly which gives the opposition time to re-group and settle in their defensive structure which United in turn then struggle to break down. 

When playing, Fred positively effects United’s pressing tempo as he always chases down the ball but can hinder the tempo of the passing with his need for multiple touches. However, as Matic ages, his tenacious playstyle helps United defensively as he can cover the ground well not leaving acres of space. 

Overall, I feel Fred is a good player, but he is not of Manchester United standard as he isn’t a complete player and can be the hinderance stopping United’s fast flowing football. He could become useful squad depth but shouldn’t be starting as he can become a liability as Solskjaer then must use two players to fill one role which slows the whole team down. 

Ultimately, if he can improve on his weaknesses he could reach the United level, but with him being at the club for a couple years now and still struggling to pass the ball accurately, I feel he just isn’t of United standard and Solskjaer should look to bring in a proper defensive midfielder when he next has the opportunity.

Written by Ethan Bents

Manchester United sign Alex Telles from FC Porto; the second summer signing for the club

Manchester United have announced the signing of Brazilian left-back Alex Telles on a four-year contract with the option of a fifth year. It is reported that United will pay FC Porto €15 million (£13.6 million) and €3 million (£2.7 million) in add-ons as part of the deal to sign the 27-year-old, who was in the final year of his contract at the club. Telles had been linked to the Old Trafford club for a number of weeks with it being reported just over a fortnight ago that the Brazilian had agreed on a five-year contract at the club but it was soon downplayed by journalists as not being quote correct. After a period of waiting, everything has now been completed.

Last season at Porto, Telles made a total of 49 appearances, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists in all competitions, scoring two goals and two assists in three appearances this season. Luke Shaw has scored just two goals adding 11 assists in his time at the club. Telles started his career at Juventude and soon signed for Grêmio, where he made 39 appearances, scoring one goal and four assists. He also played for Galatasaray, make 60 appearances, scoring two goals and four assists being loaned out to Inter Milan for one season, making 22 appearances, getting one assist. In total, at Porto, Telles made 195 appearances, scoring 26 goals and 57 assists.

Speaking to the official Manchester United website about his move to the Old Trafford club, Telles said:

“To join a club with the prestige of Manchester United is a huge honour. You have to work hard to get to this moment your career and now I am coming to this club, I can promise that I will give everything in my heart to be a success here.

I won many trophies at FC Porto and I want to continue that at United. The manager has a clear plan and direction for this team and I can’t wait to pull on the famous shirt.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pleased to get another signing across the line this summer, despite United leaving it late to get deals done, which in understandable considering the hierarchy of the club and the fact they are always slow at concluding deals. United will not play again until the 17 October when they are scheduled to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Premier League in a match that is scheduled to kick off at 15:00 BST, but will be subject to change. After United’s 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday, the manager will be seeking United to show everyone that they are made of, coming back from this defeat.

Speaking to the official Manchester United website about the signing of Telles, Solskjaer said:

“First and foremost I welcome Alex to [Telles] United. He is a player we have been tracking for some time and his performances over the past few years are exactly what we are looking for.

“He is a fighter and a winner and will add real determination and competition to the squad. Alex has the qualities, both as a player and a person, that we want here at Manchester United.”

United will have more depth in the fullback position now with both Telles and Shaw likely to go head to head for the starting left-back place and Brandon Williams, who can play at both right-back and left-back, likely to contend with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, perhaps Ethan Laird and maybe Tim Fosu-Mensah for a position at the club. With the number of matches United will be playing this season, it is likely that many of the players will get important minutes on the pitch but Shaw could be the main casualty with Telles now signing for the club. For many years now, Shaw has not lived to the expectations and his injury record and form has been poor.

Written by John Walker

Alex Telles could be signed for just £12 million with defender convinced deal will be reached

Manchester United are reportedly hoping to sign FC Porto’s Brazilian left-back Alex Telles in a cut price £12 million deal this summer with the player into his final year of his current contract at the Portuguese club. The Guardian has reported that the £18 million fee being asked for is not something that United would pay for the player, seeing the fee for the 27-year-old as too high with the Old Trafford club hoping to use the clubs financial difficulties to conclude the deal positively.

It is reported that Telles is eager to make the switch to the Old Trafford club and play in the Premier League this season but United will have just over a week to get the deal completed as the summer transfer window will close on the 5 October. Porto are said to be holding firm on their valuation of the player with United playing hardball to get the deal done. With the ongoing financial problems for the Portuguese club, they may need to accept United’s offer rather than risk losing the player for free.

From January, Telles, 27, will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club, signing for the club from the 1 July 2021. If that happens, there is no guarantee that United would wait to sign the player as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign a left-back this summer to cover for Luke Shaw, who has an poor injury record and Brandon Williams, who needs to find more experience and could learn from a player like Telles. United are said to have one or two other left-backs on their list this summer.

Solskjaer’s side were linked with Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico earlier this week, which may or may not be a player that the club are interested in signing if they do not manage to conclude a deal for Telles this summer. The Old Trafford club were also linked with Sergio Reguilon, who signed for Tottenham Hotspur after United would not agree to a buyback clause for the player, which would have turned the deal into a glorified loan spell for the player, which was something United were not interested in.

Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, who is a well-respected journalist when it comes to transfers has suggested that the £12 million fee that United might be trying to pay could just be hearsay as he has stated that the fee could rise to £22 million with Porto seeking to get €25 million for Telles this summer as they want to invest in other areas of their squad. Romano stated the following on his Twitter account;

“Talks continue between Manchester United and Porto for Alex Telles. Player side still convinced that an agreement between Porto and #MUFC can be reached around €25m (£22m). Negotiations on. There’s also another option on the list as LB for Man Utd if Telles deal will collapse.”

Last season, Telles made a total of 49 appearances for Porto, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists in all competitions with Porto winning the Primeira Liga and the Taça de Portugal. So far this season, Telles has made just one appearance this season, scoring two goals and one assist in the 3-1 victory over Sporting Braga last weekend. Porto face Boavista in the Primeira Liga this weekend, the club that former United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes has been loaned to for the season. It will be interesting to see if Telles plays in this fixture, which could tell how close a deal actually is.

Written by John Walker

Alex Telles agrees five-year contract with Manchester United – reports

Manchester United have reportedly agreed a five-year contract with FC Porto left-back Alex Telles according to a report by French journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi, although David Ornstein suggests that neither Porto or the Brazilian have any agreement in place. The 27-year-old’s current contract at the Portuguese club will expire at the end of the season and the club would rather sell the player this summer, rather than see him leave the club as a free agent. He could wait until January to sign a pre-contract agreement with a club away from Portugal, leaving on a free.

United were interested in Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon earlier this summer but the inclusion of a buyback clause on the contract was something that United opted to steer clear of, as they should, which would make the prospective transfer seem like a glorified loan spell. The player will be signing for Tottenham Hotspur instead this summer. United would need certainty that the player wanted to play for United, and the buyback clause would not have given that impression.

Telles, 27, was on United’s radar earlier in the summer and Chelsea were also understood to be interested in the Brazilian. Frank Lampard instead opted for Ben Chilwell from Leicester City, signing the player for around £50 million. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to sign a left-back to rival Luke Shaw, who has had an injury ridden career at the Old Trafford club, ending last season on the sidelines, which something that United would need to avert with Brandon Williams lacking experience.

United have utilised their fullbacks to attack in matches, which has not been ideal as both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Shaw have both been under pressure at times defensively, which has cut their ability to break forward. It has not always been like that though. Last season at Porto, Telles made a total of 49 appearances for the club, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists, which is a 25 goal contribution for the club, which would be great to see something similar at United, if the club is successful in signing there player.

Providing United find agreement of Porto and Paris Saint-Germain, who have held interested in the player, so not make a move, United might end the summer strengthening the left-back position at the club, which will go a long way into making the squad much stronger. it might also see Shaw being given a battle to keep his position at the club, also giving Solskjaer a rotation option and a more experienced head for both Shaw and Williams to learn from.

United will be seeking to sign two more players this summer, according to some reports, of which Telles could be one of. Jadon Sancho has been linked to United all summer and despite missing the deadline that was given by Borussia Dortmund, United still seem to be interested in their number one target this summer. It may well be that United make the move for Sancho and given that the club has agreed personal terms and agent fees, it would suggest that something was happening at some point. Although it might not end with Sancho playing for United but here is hoping.

Written by John Walker

Brazilian left-back has asking price reduced to £18.5 million – reports

FC Porto have reported lowered their asking price for 27-year-old left back Alex Telles this summer with Portuguese news source A Bola suggesting that the club will accept £18.5 million for the player with is a £9.2 million reduction from the £27.7 million fee previously quoted for the player. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been seeking to sign a left-back this summer with Real Madrid’s Sergio Reguilon linked to the club but reports suggest that the player does not want to move to United.

Telles, 27, has been on United’s radar once before and nothing ever materialised under the management of Jose Mourinho and it is possible that the same thing could happen here with many players being linked to United, many of whom do not seem to be wanted by the club – which is what happens every time the transfer window opens. Clubs do not tend to comment on transfer speculation – it would be great if clubs denied any interest in players as it would make the media look pathetic.

The Sun has carried the reports from A Bola regarding the rumour of a reduced fee for Telles this summer, which could see United bring in an experienced left-back to rival Luke Shaw and also help Brandon Williams and Shaw develop in their roles at the club. The Brazilian will be out of contract at Porto next summer, so instead of losing the player as a free agent, they will earn some money from his sale instead, which seems to be good business from the Portuguese club, if the report is true.

During the 2019/20 season, Telles made a total of 49 appearances for Porto, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists, which is a great rate of goals from a fullback. If this form could be replicated at United in the Premier League, it would be a valuable deal for United, especially in that Shaw has not been the best player at the club of late with all of his injuries and the fact he ended another season on the sidelines, which was something that left United much weaker when playing in the UEFA Europa League.

Since arriving in Porto in the summer of 2016, Telles has made a total of 192 appearances, scoring 24 goals and 55 assists in the four seasons he has spent at the club. Before signing for Porto, Telles was playing for Galatasaray spending three seasons at the club, however, he was loaned to Inter Milan during his third, before being sold to Porto. For the Turkish side, he made a total of 60 appearances, scoring two goals and four assists and in his season at Inter, made 22 appearances, scoring no goals and one assist. Telles started out at Gremio in Brazil, making 39 appearances, scoring one goal and four assists.

It is suggested that United are the main interested party in the running to sign Telles this summer, although Chelsea, who has since signed Ben Chilwell from Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested in the Brazilian this summer. Telles was a standout performer for Porto last season as the club won the Primeira Liga and Taça de Portugal double. United have just three weeks to complete their summer business and they have a lot to do to catch up with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Written by John Walker

Fred confirms desire to remain a Manchester United player this summer

Manchester United midfielder Fred has seemingly put an end to the speculation linking him with an exit from the Old Trafford club this summer. In the past month or so, the Brazilian has been linked with a loan move to Turkish side Galatasaray, which seems to have come to nothing. There seems to be a reason why nothing has happened with the player remaining happy at the club despite the arrival of Donny van de Beek this summer, which could cut into his playing time this coming season.

United signed the Brazilian from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk for £53.1 million in the summer of 2018 but the was fair to say that the midfielder struggled in his debut season at the club, which also saw the end of Jose Mourinho who was sacked after a defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replacing the Portuguese ‘Special One’. During the 2018/19 season, Fred made a total of 25 appearances, scoring one goal and one assist, which was not all that great and he seemed to not fit into the structure of the club.

However, during his first full season under Solskjaer, Fred seemed to pick up the pace, which was required after injuries to Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic (not all at the same time) with the Brazilian playing a more regular role in the squad and seeming to find his feet. Fred made a total of 48 appearances, scoring two goals and four assists during the 2019/20 season, which was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, earning some praise from the manager and the supporters.

The 27-year-old will have seen the speculation linking him to Galatasaray earlier this summer and might use that as motivation to continue his career at the Old Trafford club under the reign on Solskjaer. With the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and now Van de Beek at the club, Fred’s role might be off the bench or in rotation but it will give Solskjaer some strength in midfield which might prompt a formation change in some matches which might require that. Speaking to FourFourTwo, Fred stated:

“I want to stay here – that’s my desire. I don’t want to leave. As I’ve always said, I want to be an important player and win trophies for this club.”

Van de Beek’s arrival might mean that Fred spends more time on the bench this season but the player seems to be happy with the Dutch international arriving at the club, which has strengthened the team, as the Brazilian has stated. United will be playing in the Premier League, hoping to mount a title challenge, returning to the UEFA Champions League, which will be much tougher than the UEFA Europa League, also playing in the Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup. Fred concluded by saying:

“[Van de Beek’s arrival] means we’re getting stronger and that’s good for everyone at United.

“We need more players for this season because it will be even more demanding: the calendar is crammed and we need a strong squad to compete for every title. When you play at a big club, there will always be competition – I’m used to it. It’s been like that from day one at United.

“We can’t say it was a good one, because we didn’t win a trophy. For a club like Manchester United, it’s not a good season without a title. We managed to reach three semi-finals but lost them all. We were close to our goals, but they just didn’t come our way – I was really confident that we would win something, but it didn’t happen.

“At least we managed to play good football at times during the campaign, and qualifying for the Champions League was very important because this club must be in that competition. It was crucial to get our place back, but that alone isn’t enough: we want to fight for that title, too.

“The good thing is that we’re improving as a team and I think we’re heading in the right direction. Trophies will come our way soon.”

Written by John Walker

Galatasaray interested in Fred this summer with loan spell and option to buy touted

In the summer of 2018, Manchester United signed Brazilian midfielder Fred for £52 million from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. Fred’s current contract at the Old Trafford club will expire in the summer of 2023, although United have the option of adding a further year on. Despite arriving under the management of Jose Mourinho, which was short-lived for Fred, now under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has only ever become a squad player at the club.

During the 2019/20 season, because of injuries to Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay, before the arrival of Bruno Fernandes during the January transfer window, Fred played a lot of football and started to build a period of form at the club. However, with Fernandes’ arrival and the return to fitness of Pogba, Matic and in some cases McTominay, Fred has seemed surplus to requirements at the club and the form he built was quickly depleted, which was a shame.

During the course of the season that was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fred made a total of 48 appearances in all competitions; Premier League, UEFA Europa League, Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup, scoring two goals and four assists. In his time at United so far, the Brazilian midfielder has made a total of 73 appearances, scoring three goals and five assists – which is not all that great for a player that cost as much as he did. It is unlikely that United would see much of the fee they paid for the player two years ago.

Turkish outfit Fotomac has reported that Galatasaray are interested in signing Fred this summer, initially on a loan spell with the option to buy, which is probably the best that United would get for the player at this moment in time, if they are looking to end his stay with the club. Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim is desperate to sign a midfielder this summer after Southampton’s Mario Lemina and Fulham’s Jean Michael Seri both returned to their clubs following loan spells at the club.

Fred, 27, would be classed as an experienced player at the club but in terms of playing regularly, the likes of Fernandes, 25, Pogba, 27, Matic 32 and McTominay, 23, would all be ahead of him. That is before you even talk about Donny van de Beek, 23, who is linked to the Old Trafford club at this moment in time with United leading the race to sign the midfielder this summer. United are also linked to Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, which could see Fred’s stay at United close to coming to an end.

If United were to sign Van de Beek this summer, it would be costly for Fred as the Dutchman would play more often than he would, as would Pogba, Fernandes and Matic. McTominay might also feature more than the Brazilian, especially if he recovers the form that saw him score a brilliant goal against Manchester City earlier this year in what was the last match to have supporters inside the stadium at the Theatre of Dreams. If this report is true, it could give a suggestion as to whether United are in fact interested in signing more than one midfielder this summer.

Written by John Walker

Douglas Costa available for £18 million – avoid at all costs

There are many lessons to be learned in football – some people end up learning, other end up repeating the same mistakes over and over again. When Alex Sanchez signed for United, on a high weekly wage, at the time it was seen as excitement by United’s supporters but six months later, that excitement was gone. The player did not fit in at the club, not under Jose Mourinho and not under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Many would hope that United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward would learn from it.

However, with United still chasing Jadon Sancho this summer and Borussia Dortmund still confirming that they plan on keeping the player for the 2020/21 season, it may seem that United might need to find another target. In the past few days, and with a management change at Juventus, Douglas Costa seems to be a player that will be on the move this summer, if the Old Lady can find a suitor for the Brazilian winger. However, this would just be another mistake for United and show nothing has been learned.

Tuttosport in Italy have reported that Costa could be sold this summer for as little as £18 million with new manager, Andrea Pirlo not having plans for the Brazilian winger at the club. United have previously been interested in the 29-year-old and Sir Alex Ferguson held an interested in the player when he was an emerging talent. However, that does not mean the player should be signed by the club this summer. Sanchez was a mistake – this would be too. United need to keep to their plans.

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived at the club after the sacking of Mourinho in December 2018, he talked about his plans for the future, if he got the job as the permanent manager, which was confirmed in March 2019. The manager has now completed his first full season in charge of the club, guided United to a third-placed finish in the Premier League and reached the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, losing all of them, which is the only main criticism.

Juventus paid €40 million for Costa in 2018 after a season-long loan spell from Bayern Munich and it was suggested that United made a £54 million bid for the player last summer, which has been suggested by The Sun. A year later, United should be keeping to their young and hungry for success targeting as signing another player, who will be in his 30s in a matter of weeks will not fit into that area. If United are going to build a team for the future, steering clear of Costa would be good advice.

If United ended up signing the Brazilian this summer, his fee might not be all that big but his wage demands will be costly and if it did not work out, which could well be likely based on his achievements during the 2019/20 season, it would be hard to shift another high earner to another club who would struggle to afford the wages the player will be on at United. For that reason, United should keep pursuing the players they are, the ones that fit into Solskjaer’s plans for rebuilding the club.

Written by John Walker

Benfica interested in Andreas Pereira as player not in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans

Portuguese club Benfica are reportedly interested in signing Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira this summer. The Belgian-born Brazilian was a regular in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfield in the early part of the 2019/20 season with Paul Pogba on the sidelines through injury and United needing to find a way to breakdown their opposition. However, in the latter stages of the season, after Bruno Fernandes arrived at the club, Pereira featured very little.

Pereira was quickly replaced in the squad by either Fred or Scott McTominay and then when Fernandes had arrived and Pogba was fit, Pereira was sometimes not even on the bench in Solskjaer’s squad. ESPN have claimed that the player could be on hi sway to Benfica this summer, who are said to be interested in bolstering their squad with the 24-year-old. Pereira is a good player but this season has drawn a line under the fact that he is not of Manchester United quality.

It is suggested that Solskjaer still likes Pereira and would like to keep him around, however, the manager could not give the player any assurances regarding his playing time. He does need to be a regular starter and with Pogba, Fernandes, Fred, McTominay and Matic all ahead of it, he is not likely to get much at United going forward, which would suggest that him moving on would be better for his career otherwise it may be too late for him to establish himself elsewhere.

During the 2019/20 season, Pereira made a total of 40 appearances for the club, scoring two goals and four assists, playing 2,267 minutes of football. Fernandes has played 1,832 minutes of football since signing for United, making 22 appearances for the club and scoring 12 goals and eight assists. At the end of the day, to be an attack minded player, Fernandes’ stats are what you should be aiming to match, not six goal contributions in total. Pereira was an exciting player coming through the academy though.

That said, not every player will make the grade and despite Solskjaer wanting to keep him at the club but unable to offer him much playing time, it would seem that now is the time to move on for the player. It is also stated that Valencia are also interested in signing the player – he spent a season on loan at the La Liga club only a few seasons ago but because of their financial problems, they are unlikely to be in a position to make a move for the player.

Pereira signed a new contract at United last summer which is set to expire in the summer of 2023 and there is an option for another year to be added. Pereira has played in many positions this season from attacking midfield, central midfield, right midfielder, a right-winger and even in defensive midfield. The fact that the player has not shone consistently in any of those positions is problematic. United should be seeking to get a good fee for the player, considering his contract length and should not sell the player for a low fee as they have done with many players over the years.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW