Why new signing Fred is exactly what Manchester United need
With the signing of Fred all but confirmed, Manchester United are off to a very positive start with regards to their summer transfer dealings. Though he may not have the star power of a Paul Pogba or an Alexis Sanchez, Fred could very well turn out to be a very astute signing by the club.
Over the past two summers, manager Jose Mourinho has opted to sign players with a very specific profile - over 6 feet tall and physically imposing - while Fred on the other is neither. At around 5 ft 7 inches, Fred is a dynamic box to box midfielder who should improve United's tempo going forward. At 25 years of age, he is also just about to enter the prime of his career which is something that should further excite United fans.
Though he is often compared to his Brazilian compatriot Fernandinho, Fred is a slightly different player, in the sense that he is more attack minded than his counterpart. Fred is an all action box to box midfielder, who in theory should significantly improve United's style of play.
Strengths and position
He is primarily left footed, he seems to adept with using his right foot and is quick with the ball at his feet. While he can put in a tackle, his ability to help his team transition from defence to attack, especially with his strong passing range, is what will really add value to the United as they have lacked this dynamism in their midfield for some time now.
In terms of where he would play, Mourinho switched from his traditional 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-3-3, which did see United improve their style of play marginally. If he is to persist with a 4-3-3, then Fred would slot in alongside Nemanja Matic and Pogba in the midfield three, which may also solve the headache of getting the best out of Pogba by giving him fewer defensive responsibilities.
Causes for concern
The flip side to this coin is that Mourinho, who is a firm believer in systems may shackle Fred. The player has admitted that his former coach, Paulo Fonseca, gave him the liberty to roam and in turn become "conductor" for his previous team. Much has been made of Mourinho's inability to get the best out of Pogba and the last thing both he and the team need is to face a similar issue with another midfield signing.
Another cause for concern could also be the level of the Ukrainian league. Though the league brought to prominence the likes of Willian, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Fernandinho, the level isn't exactly the strongest and a direct move to the Premier League might take some time to adjust to. Fred has also previously served a ban for doping and although he has bounced back since, the episode is a blot on his career.
There is an element of risk with any football transfer, especially with players coming in from foreign leagues. A lot of football observers will believe that Fred has all the necessary tools to succeed and with all things considered, if things do go according to plan, then Fred may well be exactly what Manchester United need to bridge the gap to their 'noisy neighbors'.