In the latest instalment of Introducing, we take a look at how forgotten Manchester United Fred can be the unlikely man to replace Paul Pogba this summer should the France superstar depart Old Trafford.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last couple of days, you’ll know that Paul Pogba has announced his intention to move onto greener pastures, three years after his record-breaking £89million transfer.
Well, whether you like the Frenchman or loathe him, this recent revelation does leave Manchester United in a midfield pickle. Who on earth can replace him?
“Like you said, there is a lot of talking and a lot of thinking as well,” Pogba said (quotes sourced by the Mirror).
“For me I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great; some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else.
“After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well… I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.
“I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
In terms of potentially having to replace goals, any Pogba loss would hurt Manchester United. Indeed, he’s provided the most goals and assists for the club this season – scoring 16 and creating a further 11 more – and his talent on his day does make him a genuine force in the engine room.
So, as far as potential replacements go, we’re actually going to hedge our bets on Brazilian midfielder, Fred.
Given his opening season probably wasn’t as positive as some fans were hoping, many might be surprised that we’re suggesting Fred could be Pogba’s replacement. After all, he managed just one goal and one assist in 13 league starts, so he hardly carries the same sort of global profile as the Frenchman, and nothing about his 5 ft 5 figure reminds us of the towering 6 ft 2 powerhouse that is his midfield counterpart.
Yet, for all his differences, Fred has convinced us at times that he has the potential to be a key player for a side who will surely be keen on diverging from the failed tactics of the previous six years.
Indeed, according to WhoScored, the Brazilian dons a passing success rate of 86.3% compared to Pogba’s 82.8%, and while his long ball per game average is only 3.5 compared to Pogba’s 4.7, it certainly isn’t anything to scoff at.
Neither his current boss nor Jose Mourinho managed to squeeze the best out of Pogba in the defensive department, with the Frenchman accumulating 1.3 tackles and 0.5 interceptions on average per game. Fred, on the other hand, is fairly competent when it comes to fulfilling his defensive duties (while still boasting some attacking impetus). He averaged 1.7 tackles and 0.9 interceptions and quickly transitioned play with 0.7 key passes per game.
Attitude and work rate will be incredibly important next year, as highlighted by Solskjaer who criticised the fitness and work rate of his players following United’s shocking defeat at Goodison Park. As of the end of April, Fred had an average of 11.03 kilometres per game, whilst Pogba ranked at 9.86 kilometres.
Box-to-box material, right?
If it’s going to be a team effort, rather than a bunch of unsynchronised individual performers hoping to strike the sweet spot, Fred could be the man to drive the team forward.
Manchester United fans, do you agree with our selection? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!