Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred has admitted he was honoured to receive interest from Manchester United ahead of his impending move to Old Trafford.
The Brazilian, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, has agreed to join Man United for a fee of £44m to become their first signing of the summer.
He will conveniently be in the north-west next week for a friendly with Croatia at Anfield and United look set to complete the deal during this period.
And Fred, speaking earlier this week, confirmed that United had approached him and, while not giving too much away, expressed his delight at being recognised by Jose Mourinho and shed some light on what kind of player he will be next season.
“It is an honour to get the attention of the great coaches of Europe, those of Manchester and of the Brazil national team,” he said.
“I think I have a vitality on the pitch, I am versatile, I can play in some middle positions. Some coaches need this, call attention. It’s an important point for me. The versatility, the quality, good pass. I think all this draws the attention of some coaches.”
You will hear many stats about Fred in the coming weeks as we try to understand what kind of player he is. Seeing him in the World Cup for Brazil this summer will give supporters a clearer idea of what Mourinho is looking for. But for the time being, an important aspect of Fred’s game is reflected by how no midfielder in the Champions League this season managed a better dribble success rate.
Too often United’s midfield has felt stagnant, deprived of any sense of forward propulsion. The limited ability on the ball of Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic, combined with Paul Pogba playing too deep, has been a root cause behind United’s sluggishness this term.
No surprise, therefore, that Mourinho has found a player who can use the ball productively, who can be daring. So much of United’s attacking style comes down to using possession as efficiently as possible, getting beyond opposition midfields and into the attacking trio.
This is where Fred comes in. He has spoken of his desire to make the next step in his career and his role in the team next season allows him do to exactly that.