A tug of war over Brazilian midfielder, Fred, between the Manchester clubs looks like being won by Mourinho to offer balance to United’s midfield
Shakhtar midfield-star Fred has been heavily linked with English Premier League sides in the past few months, but if reports from European press are true, then Manchester United are on the verge of securing the services of the 25-year-old. So, what can he add to José Mourinho’s midfield?
Fred received huge criticism following Brazil’s early exit from Copa América back in 2015, however the Brazilian was the easiest target in a Dunga side that completely lacked inspiration and flair. The public had many trust issues with that team. So of course, a random 22-year-old midfielder from Shakhtar, selected ahead of more reputable names, was the ideal scapegoat as accusations about the Brazilian Football Association’s secret deals with agents to promote their players in order to increase the likelihood of a future sale, were growing at a fast rate.
Months later, Fred would be banned from action for around a year due for being tested positive, using an illegal substance, which resulted in him missing the squad that would go on and conquer Olympic gold, in Rio de Janeiro.
At that moment, Fred was at an-all time low and his relationship with the Brazilian fans would never be the same again. No one expected that he would ever wear the yellow jersey in the future. But it all changed the moment that reliable links confirmed that Pep Guardiola, who is extremely respected in Brazil, has made it clear that he wants the midfielder at Manchester City, and regards him as the ideal successor to compatriot Fernandinho, due to his impressive passing-range, sublime technique and high work-rate.
Of course, the move did not happen in January and it seems like City have other priorities now, after the Ukrainian club did their best to keep their player for a longer period.
If Fred does sign with the red side of the city, then the possibility of seeing him in a more advanced midfield role will certainly increase. Guardiola wanted him to basically operate as the deepest midfielder in the midfield-trio, whereas with Mourinho, he might well locate himself next to Nemanja Matic or slightly more advanced, a role which the Brazilian has occupied for the majority of his career.
It was Pep’s approach that seemed likely to revolutionize Fred’s role, a change that former Shakhtar Donetsk boss Mircea Lucescu thinks that is definitely possible and suits the player’s characteristics.
Manchester United have two solid players in Nemanja Matic as the holding midfielder and Paul Pogba as the box-to-box midfielder who enjoys forward runs but needs good cover to have this freedom. Fred has the quality to operate in between the two by providing balance, adding technique and using his passing skills to break down the lines and help United penetrate from central positions.
Fred can succeed at Manchester United but it depends on many factors, such as the team’s tactics and overall performances and style of play. His success would have been more guaranteed under Pep Guardiola, as the midfield there would be more organized, making Fred’s life easier to adapt and display his skills. It’s a gamble that the Brazilian now has to take, with one of the greatest clubs in the world.