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Is Fred turning out to be an unnecessary signing for Manchester United?

Sunday 2nd September 2018

Everything at Manchester United seems doomed now. Both Jose Mourinho and Edward Woodward are facing the music from all genres of the footballing world. The self-proclaimed Special One is continuously moaning. It all started on pre-season tour. He complained about the board not backing him up in the transfer market. Perhaps, to some extent he was right. The Red Devils didn’t have a great transfer window. They bought just three players and only one of them was a marquee signing – Fred. But was he an essential buy?

The straightforward answer would be yes. But after three league games, it doesn’t seem like so. Fred has started in each; totalling 256 minutes of action. The Brazilian has failed to produce something remarkable in those minutes. Well, the criticism can be laid upon the whole team but individually, he was lacking sharpness and confidence. Average. Uninspiring.

United's new #17 been erratic, often loses the ball easily and even he struggles to retain the possession in midfield. Something you’d not expect from a £52m acquisition. Fred has not played up to his strengths and feels like an unnecessary cog in United’s midfield.

This can be pondered with a broader view. Consider this – Do Jose Mourinho needed another central midfielder? Transfer season is meant for bringing in reinforcements and addressing the positional issues within the squad. Certainly, United are short on the right-hand side. The current squad doesn’t have a natural right winger. And there is no established back up option for Antonio Valencia. Mourinho did bring in Diego Dalot from Porto but the youngster will surely take some time to settle in.

The coaches desperation to bring in a centre-back could be well understood after the recent results. So, Mourinho had these three issues to sort out in the transfer market. Yet, he chose to go with another central midfielder. The area where United already has the most depth...

Besides the regulars, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, United have plenty of other options in Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, Marouane Fellaini and if needed Juan Mata could also play in there occasionally. Mourinho has already deployed Andreas Pereira in central midfield. Of course, Fred will provide even more depth and options, but United midfield looks quite identical with or without him.

United could’ve been much more equipped and balanced should they chose to spend that money elsewhere. In some part of his mind, Mourinho must’ve have thought about this. Maybe he took the decision to sign Fred too hastily. Perhaps, if Fred didn’t arrive so early during the summer transfer window then Woodward could’ve agreed to pay those extra bucks for Toby Alderweireld or Harry Maguire. Also, Mourinho could’ve gone for a right-winger. But neither happened.

It is still very early, and three games time is too short for the assessment of any newcomer. But again, it is a cause of concern for the manager as the player is not the answer to the existing problems in the squad. And from the fans perspective, it really hurts to see rival club’s newcomers all the hitting the right chords from the very beginning. Yes, particularly Naby Keita and Jorginho are blazing for their respective sides.

Now we can only hope that Mourinho somehow gets the best out of Fred and he won’t suffer the same fate as Angel Di Maria or Radamel Falcao at Old Trafford.

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Zaid Pathan

A huge fan of Peter Drury's bombastic post-goal narration and an ardent football follower since his teens, Zaid believes the beautiful game is the best mode of escape from the daily hustle and bustle. He particularly loves to watch the Premier League and wants English clubs to dominate Europe again.

“Life may or may not be beautiful, but football surely is”

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