By Thomas Reynolds
4th June 2018
Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred is ‘expected to finalise his move to Manchester United early this week,’ according to the BBC. We’ve compiled a Fred scout report to fill you in.
What type of player is Fred?
Breathe easy United fans. This isn’t the fairly pedestrian veteran former Lyon striker last seen doing little to nothing effective at the last World Cup, this is a 25-year-old deep-lying midfielder.
Although his Champions League passes per game average of 56.8 last term was only a fag paper shy of half that of Manchester City’s John Stones, Fred is Shakhtar’s playmaker.
Comfortable receiving the ball in confined midfield crawlspace, his superb first touch off either foot allows him to quickly bypass opposition harassment and launch attacks.
While he is capable of launching accurate long balls, carrying the team forward with the ball at his feet is where he is particularly effective. He is also dangerous when shooting from distance.
At 5’7”, Fred will leave dominating midfield with physicality to Nemanja Matic, but as Shakhtar’s highest average per game tackler in the 2017/18 Champions League (2.9), he will weigh in with his fair share of ball winning in the engine room too.
Why didn’t City follow up their interest?
No Fred scout report would be complete without addressing the ghost in the virtual room, namely that Manchester City were interested in signing the Brazilian earlier in the year.
The Citizens’ intent to sign the Shakhtar man reportedly dissolved after a delegation from the Ukraininan club visited City, but were unable to negotiate a mutually satisfactory deal for the player.
According to The Times’ Paul Hirst in March, City baulked at an asking price of £40m. The deal bringing him to Old Trafford is reportedly worth £52m.
So why might City, who now appear destined to bring in Napoli’s Jorginho instead, have thought better of signing Fred? They would have long ago known of his positive test for a banned diuretic at the 2015 Copa America and subsequent short ban, so it’s unlikely that had anything to do with it.
A perceived surfeit of tactical discipline was highlighted by Ilya Novikov of Tribuna.com and quoted by ESPN in a piece they wrote about the player’s potential Etihad switch back in December 2017.
Described by former Miners boss Mircea Lucescu as ‘anarchic’ when he used to play on the left, if anyone manager can indoctrinate the Brazilian in defensive diligence it’s Jose Mourinho.