Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred – but where will he fit in to Jose Mourinho’s line-up?
The 25-year-old Brazilian had his medical in medical in Manchester today ahead of the completion of a £50m transfer.
Here, we take a look at what United’s XI may look like with him available…
Fred is renowned as a box-to-box all-action central midfielder. He has previously described his role at Shakhtar as “the conductor” and has both the pace with the ball at his feet and the passing range to drive quick-fire counter-attacks and transitions from defence to attack.
Previously, Mourinho has used Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and youngster Scott McTominay in this role but is clearly looking for an improved option in that key position. Michael Carrick’s retirement has only heightened the need for another commanding midfield presence.
Alternatively, Mourinho could choose to use Fred in a more conservative role alongside Matic in a two-man defensive midfield screen.
Fred was Shakhtar’s top tackler last season, averaging 2.9 challenges per game in the Champions League, and played in this holding position as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation in both of the Ukraine club’s clashes with Manchester City.
He was the team’s top outfield passer in both of those games, underlining the responsibility he takes for shuttling the ball up the field.
With Fred and Matic in defensive mode, Mourinho would be able to free up four of his attacking talents.
By signing Fred, Mourinho will be bringing in not only a talented midfielder but a player who can allow him tactical flexibility.