Following a challenging first season at Manchester United, Fred has perhaps demonstrated why it was that Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho once competed for his signature. If United’s midfield required rejuvenating by the point of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, by the time Fred was tempted to Old Trafford instead of Manchester City when leaving Shakhtar Donetsk, they desperately needed the Brazilian’s impact to be immediate.
Though that ultimately proved beyond him, alongside the youthful Scott McTominay, Fred’s influence has steadily grown under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who even more recently strengthened his midfield further by recruiting Bruno Fernandes. Where United’s options in midfield were once so limited, Fred’s emergence means that in McTominay, Paul Pogba, Fernandes, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic they have an admirable blend of abilities and experience, and increasing strength in depth. “He had a tough first season, but ever since we came in we’ve shown him that we believe in him,” Solskjaer said. “Fred’s English is better. He’s got used to English football. You don’t have three or four touches. You have to play much more one and two touch, don’t get your studs on the ball – all those little habits that Brazilian players have from a slower type of game.”