Manchester United’s 25 year old summer signing, Fred has so far proved quite unconvincing in the Premier League. United’s marquee signing of the summer whom they bought from Shakhtar Donetsk for nearly 52 million pounds has started 3 times for Manchester United in which United won one and lost the other two leading to his demotion to the bench in the 4th Matchday fixture against Burnley.
The Brazilian was linked to a number of clubs since January this year after eye catching performances for Shakhtar Donetsk, notably in the Champions League and played a pivotal role for The Miners as he garnered widespread attention during their title winning campaign, making 26 appearances and scoring 3 goals.
Manchester City and Manchester United were the favourites to sign him. United won the race and made Fred their second signing of the Summer. After his arrival Mourinho described the Brazil international as a technically gifted player who he deemed fit in specialising and orchestrating attacking football from the defensive midfield position.
Looking up on the midfield in Sundays Lineup of Manchester United, Fred was replaced with Fellaini and one can surely figure that there was no established attacking midfielder in in the United side, where they played a balanced defensive midfield against a Burnley side, who were knocked out from the Europa league by Olympiakos in the midweek. A match attended by Mourinho in person. This may be as aspect of Mourinho’s tactics or due to a lack of options in the attacking region in the Devil’s squad relying solely on the forwards for the goals to be scored.
The Manchester United midfield squad almost has players who could be more or less categorized under the defensive tag with the likes of Fellaini, Matic, Pogba, Scott McTominay and Herrera falling under that bracket. It would have been more considerate if Mourinho went out to sign a midfielder who is known for his attacking qualities rather than signing another defensive midflelder in form of Fred albeit a slightly technically gifted more in his opinion.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: No player scored more goals from outside of the box than Milinkovic-Savic (5) of those aged 23 and under in Europe's top 5 leagues last season
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 13, 2018
United were linked with various midfield enforcements in the summer with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Ivan Rakitic, Toni kroos, Willian to name a few,, with Sergej Milinkovic Savic being the most feasible and preferable amongst them. He scored 12 goals and provided 3 assists in 35 matches for a not too magnificent Lazio side in Serie A .
His addition instead of Fred would have been a much efficient significant attacking addition to Mourinho’s Manchester United side which could have bolstered the squad genuinely. Rather than being more of the same he could provided that needed balance in the squad by coupling with Paul Pogba, adding a much needed attacking charisma and flair and creating a midfield which could have essentially contributed goals for the team.
It may be due to Ed Woodward’s frugality towards Mourinho having largely been on spending spree since his arrival. But Woodward went on to sign Fred for 56 millions but not a hundred million plus signing which would have been trivial for Mourinho but out of bounds for Ed in terms of financial stability.
Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw the two best players for Man United so far. Really impressed with Shaw's runs and energy – great to see. His best game since his injury. Fred much better and improving with every game.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) August 27, 2018
Had Manchester United bought an attacking midfielder instead of Fred they may not have faced humiliation against Brighton and Spurs in the weeks preceding to the burnley game.
Still it’s a long season and football is unpredictable and United faithfuls can hope that Fred may regain his lost momentum and prove his worth and that hefty price tag.