Fred in, Carrick retires, are United's midfield woes over?
Manchester United under Jose Mourinho has started their pre-season preparations in the training camp and have been active in the transfer market in the early part of the transfer window which is very unlikely of them following the trends of the past five years or so.
They have acquired the services of Diogo Dalot from FC Porto, Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and Lee Grant from Stoke City and continue to be linked to some big names like Toby Alderweireld and Rebic on the basis of his splendid performances in the world cup.
Future signings are all speculative to the point that they are confirmed from almost all reliable sources and then they are announced in the following few days.
The advent of players also means that some of the stalwarts move on from the club or end their career there.
One such case being Michael Carrick for United, the player retired from professional football after the 2017 - 2018 season as a legend for United.
This left United with a big hole to fill in the defensive midfield area comprising of usually two players in the trademark Jose Mourinho line up of 4-2-3-1 or 3-5-2.
Although Carrick didn't play a big role in the last season also, United pretty much scraped through with whatever players were available for those positions. The normal starters were Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Scott Mctominay for some time.
Pogba and Matic put in some stellar shows for United in the Midfield area and commanded the midfield whenever required.
Fellaini had divided opinions amongst the fans but still proved to be a vital resource as per Mourinho.
Herrera saw his number of appearances for United crashing down after a splendid season 2016 - 2017 as Matic arrived at the scene.
United's hectic schedule and the vast number of saves meant injuries to these players was a regular feature and thus, Carrick was dearly missed.
The situation was even grimmer when the midfield of three was playing as there was no choice left for Mourinho in order to make any substitutions.
With Fred's arrival, Mourinho has consolidated the defensive midfield area and maybe played a trick as Fred's stats talk immensely about his attacking prowess too.
Fred is excellent in defence, passing and dribbling sense. He can pass pretty well from both his feet and has many a time provided that incisive pass required to open up a tight defence while playing for Shakhtar. He is a machine who runs tirelessly throughout the match by carrying the ball from the defence and converting it into an attack. Out and out, he is a defensive midfielder with attacking capabilities.
He also had a pass success rate of 86% in the champions league where Shakhtar played against City and Napoli which is exactly similar to Paul Pogba. He had 0.4 blocks per game in the Champions league whereas Poga averages 0.2.
Moreover, Pogba is that type of Player who needs support while going forward from players like Matic and Herrera and would possibly do better in a three-man midfield.
With Fred and Matic, Pogba will get that extra freedom to terrorise defences with his dribbling and ball handling capabilities.
Carrick over the years has been that player to United who was the commanding general in the midfield by providing those decisive passes and also maintaining the defensive integrity of the team.
Fred is what is required by United to replace Carrick as both the players have similar capabilities if not better.
Fred's arrival gives United that extra attacking and defensive solidarity required that was missing in the squad and gives extra freedom and opportunity to attack on the counter and also play the pressing game due to Fred's tireless attitude.
Only time will show as to how Fred will be utilised and how much will that affect United's attack and defence and also the morale but right now, it seems it was a good move by Jose Mourinho, Ed Woodward and Manchester United.
Can Fred improve the United midfield? Sound off your opinions in the comments section below!