In 2018, Manchester United have confirmed they agreed to a deal with Shakhtar Donetsk to sign the Brazil midfielder Fred at the cost of£50 million. Fred set foot at Old Trafford with a lot of expectations. Normally, whenever you sign a Brazilian, the expectations of a better outcome always exist and the club is one of the historic ones in club football, the level reaches its peak. The scouts of Manchester United tracked down Fred, while he was playing in Ukraine and discovered that he could be a very good solution to Manchester United’s midfield.
It was one of those rare games where you can understand how #MUFC wrote a £50 million cheque for Fred. There’s talent there.
— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) December 4, 2019
Jose Mourinho had been on charge when Fred started off his journey at Old Trafford. He played Fred, but the desired results never came. He was playing the role of a pivot, from where he struggled to hold the team together and in a fast-paced game in England, he proved to be a bit slower than others. Fred was simply failing to catch-up with the tempo of the Premier League. Mourinho left, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over. But nothing was changing for Fred – he delivered good-performances in few matches, while in the rest, he was below-par. Also, injuries dented his progress.
One of the most improved players in the last couple of weeks have been @Fred08oficial. Under Ole he is developing into a compact package and right now, he is one of the cornerstones in the midfield of @ManUtd alongside Scot McTominay.
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) December 13, 2019
When a team fails, the finger-pointing and blame-game always are always gifted to the manager and under-performers. In that sense, Fred had to digest a heavy criticism. He was termed as a joke as the fans thought him to be an extra-baggage. The Brazilian, still, did not lose heart and stuck to his task. Ole showed a bit more faith in him and from a joke, at present, he has become the cornerstone of this Manchester United side’s midfield.
In the last couple of weeks, Fred has been proving himself as a player of real substance.
Unreal performance from @Fred08oficial. Talk about bringing fire to the big occasion 🔥💪🏿🔥
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) December 7, 2019
Despite the frustrating results against ordinary oppositions, Ole’s men showed real character against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in Premier League and AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League.
Fred for Man Utd vs. Spurs:
• Most touches (86)
• Most passes completed (49)
• Most passes in the opp. half (39)
• Most recoveries (11)
• Most crosses (3)
• =Most interceptions (3)
• =Most fouls won (2)
The display Old Trafford has been waiting for. 👏 pic.twitter.com/7F7b6NiBrX
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 4, 2019
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, and co, delivered the goals, but their freedom during the counter would never have been a surety had someone like Fred not worked as a fulcrum in the midfield.
This is a great example of the sheer speed of #mufc's counter-attacks for the move that Rashford curled wide: when James gets the ball, Rashford is in his own area. Eleven seconds later, he's on the end of Fred's pass inside the City area pic.twitter.com/UgWMdQkju1
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) December 9, 2019
Fred formed a formidable partnership with Scott McTominay – their roles as a double pivot changed the dynamics of Manchester United midfield. They gave the backline the much-needed assurance, while in the meantime recycled possession and set the tempo, allowing the forward to flourish. Then they play a key role in breaking up the play and thus bosses the center-park with authority.
Many might not agree with the idea of having two pivots in central-midfield area, but if a team wishes it’s forwards to flourish, the value of two pivots can never be undermined. Zinedine Zidane is getting the results by playing Fede Valverde and Casemiro together and Ole opted for Fred and McTominay – an option, which was unthinkable a year back.
Fred: “Unfortunately, we are still in a backward society. [It is a shame] we still have to live with that in 2019. On the field, I didn't see anything. I saw it only in the locker room afterwards. “ #MUFC [ESPN Brazil]
— ManUnitedZone (@ManUnitedZone_) December 7, 2019
Fred has overcome the obstacles and gradually, he is proving himself as a worthy member of Manchester United. Critics would be there to tear him apart alongside those racist actions, but Fred has learned to move on and deliver. What he needs to do now is to maintain his fitness and consistency level.