Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos, commonly known as Fred, moved to Manchester United from Shaktar Donetsk for the sum of £52m last summer.
He however failed to live up to expectations, appearing 26 times for the Red Devils, with just 13 starts in the top flight.
This has left him in an uncomfortable position at Manchester United, as his role in the squad has reduced to a mere back-up, leading to transfer speculations, which are not unexpected, as a number of midfielders, including Sean Longstaff, Bruno Fernandes and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have been linked to Old Trafford.
With the futures of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic also in doubts, there is no way the Reds will sanction a move for the 26-year-old and The Sun reports that United have rejected a number of loan inquiries during the ongoing transfer window.
If Fred will have a career at the Theater of Dreams, however, what better time to step up than now?
He recently got wedded and is expected to link up with the pre-season squad ahead of the Singapore tour. If he manages to impress the manager, he might still have a chance of breaking into the starting XI.
While the Brazilian sank under pressure and failed to live up to the pace of the Premier League last season, he did show glimpses of the talent that made him a highly-sought-after player last summer, which convinced Jose Mourinho to shell out £52m for him.
His performance in Europe in 17/18 was indeed eye-catching, helping Shakhtar Donetsk secure knockout stage qualification ahead of Napoli and Feyenoord.
The first impressive thing about Fred then in 17/18 was his technicality on the ball. He was very comfortable in possession, had superb dribbling skills and a sharp turn of pace, which when combined, made it easy for him to wiggle out of the tight spots.
In the UCL, he completed 23 successful take-ons with an impressive 89% success rate. He indeed recorded 2.88 successful take-ons per 90 minutes which bettered Paul Pogba’s 2.27 per 90 minutes and Kevin De Bruyne’s 2.44.
His best ability however lied in passing. He liked and was very adept at both long and short passes. He played in the right midfield position of a 4-2-3-1 in Shaktar then and he tended to drift towards the touchline. He played the role of a wide-man, combining with wingers and full-backs and playing through balls behind the opposition’s defence.
His superb passing range also meant that he was able to create from a more central position. He was very excellent in finding players in between the lines, an attribute that likened him to City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
He was also very comfortable with quick one-twos when getting the ball forward rapidly.
All these qualities made him a proactive midfielder, who moves the ball and team forward while in possession and it was no surprise that a lot of big European teams circled around him at the end of the season.
Indeed, he nearly signed for Pep Guardiola’s side in January 2018, but somehow, the move failed to materialize. The Cityzens returned for him in the summer but Manchester United beat them to his signing. His unimpressive first season in England would no doubt leave City in no position to rue the loss, however.
Nevertheless, Fred has the talent to be a beater and it is left up to him to convince Ole Gunnar Solksjær in pre-season that he is up to task, with the Norwegian seeking to add Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes to bolster his ranks at Manchester United.
He can secure a box-to-box role in midfield, tasked with carrying the ball from deep, recycling possession and prompting attacking moves through his incisive passing into the final third, similar to what he was used to at Shakhtar.