If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent the last few days, searching the internet for anything related to Shakhtar Donetsk’s Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos -or ‘Fred’ as he’s known to his mates.
The Brazilian is either a United player or on the verge of becoming one depending on which newspaper you read – our friends at Football Whispers have the deal as ‘likely’ which means we should be on good ground getting his face tattooed on our chest, if the mood takes us.
The burning question many United fans will be asking, other than who on earth is he, is how the 25 year-old will fit into the Reds’ midfield and perhaps more pertinently what this means for the Paul Pogba.
Much of the debate following the dissection of United’s season centred around the mercurial Frenchman and whether he’s the man to make the team tick or if Jose Mourinho would have been better served dumping 89 million quids’ worth of two pence pieces on the Old Trafford centre circle and seeing if that could dictate the game.
Like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, Fred falls into the ‘unknown’ category when it comes to assessing whether he’s good enough for the Premier League, despite what FIFA or Wikipedia tells us.
Yes, the omens look good, after all the greatest manager in the history of Manchester City and of course the universe, was reportedly keen on Fred, but oddly baulked at the transfer fee and was distracted somewhat by pursuits of Alexis Sanchez then Riyad Mahrez.
City saw Fred as a successor to Fernandinho – a Fredandinho if you will, excuse me while I beat myself with a big stick for such an awful joke, but that’s not necessarily the best use of his talents.
Fred is viewed more as box-to-box type rather than the holding midfield role Fernandinho occupies and occupies well, don’t @ me but he’s City’s most important player, allowing Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to ponce about up the pitch while he does all the dirty work. City are naturally favourites to retain the title, priced at 5/8 with RedArmyBet.com.
With Nemanja Matic the player Jose Mourinho charges with protecting the back four, usually with Ander Herrera alongside him, but occasionally the inaugural winner of the Scott McTominay award. The issue with Herrera or McTominay as a partner to Matic is neither of them possess the consistency to realistically mount a title challenge. United are priced 13/2 with RedArmyBet.com to win the title next season.
McTominay may well grow into the role but next season is probably too soon to expect him to be fully ready, while Herrera may endear himself to many United fans by spitting on City emblems and performing some of the most dramatic histrionics seen outside of RADA but neither are at the level needed to wrestle the title from City’s grasp.
Fred could be the ideal foil for the likes of Matic and Pogba, winning the ball and offering an outlet as well as creating chances and from the games some of us, well when I say us, I mean you may have seen him feature in during Shakhtar’s Champions League campaign he looks to have the tools to do the job needed of him at United.