Fred looks set to become Manchester United’s first summer signing after the Old Trafford club reached agreement with Shakhtar Donetsk for the transfer of the Brazil international midfielder.
Here, we take a look at why United boss Jose Mourinho has been tempted by the 25-year-old.
Forward thinking Fred
A major criticism of United last season was that they appeared to lack imagination and creativity in attack. All too often, Mourinho’s men moved the ball too slowly and lacked a midfielder who could regularly unlock defences. Fred should solve that problem.
A look at the Brazilian’s highlights reel shows he plays early, forward passes when the opportunity arises. Importantly for United, he is not afraid to put the ball into the space behind defenders, rather than playing it into feet all the time.
A case for the defence
At the back was where United have been relatively solid under Mourinho but there has been a problem finding midfielders to perform that duty. Michael Carrick has retired while Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini made United ponderous in possession last season.
Fred is the dynamic, mobile midfielder Mourinho has been looking for who will not only raise the tempo of the side’s play, but also willingly cover the ground from box-to-box and make United tick.
Solution to the Pogba puzzle?
Pogba cannot be relied on to perform defensive duties and is wasted when dropping deep to receive the ball to try to start United’s attacks – but with Fred in the team he will not have to.
With Mourinho likely to stick with Matic, one of his trusted ‘soldiers’, in the holding midfield role, Fred will happily do most of the running in the middle of the park, freeing up Pogba to drift dangerously in the final third where he is capable of match-winning moments.
Fred’s obvious attributes aside, you can also add physicality and aggression to his skill set. He picked up 13 bookings and one red card in 19 appearances last season and would be a powerful addition in United’s midfield. Fred was Shakhtar’s top tackler last season. Able to contribute both defensively and in attack, he has been compared to Fernandinho and was reportedly a target for Manchester City in January.