Manchester United

Manchester United: Previous numbers suggest Fred may still come good

Manchester United: Previous numbers suggest Fred may still come good

Fred has entered his second season at Manchester United after signing for £52m under Jose Mourinho in 2018, however, the Brazilian has not yet played for the Red Devils this season as doubts continue to circle over his future.

Still, reports from the M.E.N suggest that Fred has no intention of leaving the club and has organised independent fitness work to force his way back into the first-team.

Obviously, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overlooked him in the three games thus far. Still, with Ander Herrera gone and Nemanja Matic also yet to feature (the Serb has been touted with a move away himself), perhaps it is time for the ex-Shakhtar Donetsk man to step up this year. After all, his manager backed him when speaking to the club’s official website.

With that in mind, here are two reasons as to why he could make a success of it at Old Trafford in 2019-20.

PLAY TO THE STRENGTHS OF PAUL POGBA

Whoever comes into the United midfield should be playing to help Pogba flourish. The signing of Nemanja Matic may have happened because of this (as pointed out by the Premier League) and now we are seeing Scott McTominay occupy a similar defensive role alongside the Frenchman. So, it is perhaps time for Fred to come in to free up the ex-Juventus man as well.

In Fred’s appearances for Internacional analysed by WhoScored, he averaged an impressive 3.2 tackles per game, whilst scoring one and assisting two and averaging 2.8 key passes per game (as per WhoScored.com). Furthermore, in his final season in Ukraine, Fred averaged 2.9 tackles per game and 1.1 interceptions per game over the course of Champions League competition[WhoScored.com].

Those numbers – more than Matic and McTominay averaged in the Premier League last season – could help free Pogba, who was the club’s top assist providers and goal scorer last season.

While it’s been hard for him in England (Roy Keane blasted him for his performance against Manchester City), Fred has proven he can operate at a high level in the engine room before in his career.

REPLACE ANDER HERRERA

The departure of Ander Herrera to PSG on a free transfer does leave a hole in the club’s engine room. He was the midfielder who averaged the most interceptions and tackles last season, with no direct replacements coming in over the course of the summer.

Still, the numbers above do suggest the player is capable of performing a similar role at a reasonably high level and his performance against the French champions in the Champions League last season was praised by the Guardian. Handed a 7/10 and described as ‘getting among’ the opposition engine room, the South American looked capable of breaking up play in a manner Herrera proved so effective at doing. Alongside McTominay, he has proven in the past that he can be a viable option.

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