It has been claimed that former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho never wanted to sign midfielder Fred last year. The Brazilian joined the Red Devils from Shakhtar Donetsk for a reported transfer fee of €60million.
The Athletic reports, via Daily Mail, that Mourinho was, in fact, “concerned” that the 26-year-old would not impress at the club – but at the same time, he also had the fear that Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward would not sanction the signing of an alternative option, if he refused.
Quite unsurprisingly, Fred struggled for game time under the former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Inter Milan manager, and when he was sacked last December, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took his place but that did not change Fred’s situation at the Old Trafford.
These days, the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder can be seen in United’s starting XI, but that is just because a few key players including Paul Pogba have been injured. Once they return, it seems unlikely that he will form a part of Solskjaer’s first-team plans yet again.
However, the Manchester United boss still seems to feel that Fred has what it takes to turn his own fortunes around.
“Well, I think you’re not surprised when a player who has played in Ukraine finds it a little bit hard in the beginning,” the 46-year-old said recently.
“But we know the talent is there. We’ve seen, towards the end of [last] season, what Fred can give us: the PSG game, the Arsenal and Man City games.”
“And, of course, he’s one that we hope is going to take another step this season,” he concluded.