Although Jose Mourinho was left immensely frustrated at the end of the summer transfer window after Manchester United’s board failed to help him sign a new centre-back, the Portuguese coach was still handed £52 million to sign Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Brazilian midfielder had reportedly been on Pep Guardiola’s radar but it was United, rather than Manchester City, who won the battle for his signature.
"Fred will complement our other midfielders' qualities, which we need,” Mourinho said after the deal was confirmed, “his creative brain and passing vision will give us another dimension to our game."
Fast-forward five months and United fans haven’t seen all that much of their big-money summer signing.
Fred has only appeared in seven of United’s 12 Premier League fixtures so far this term, completing the full 90 minutes on just three occasions.
He was an unused substitute during last week’s 2-1 win over Juventus and was also left on the bench during Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.
United fans have every right to wonder why Mourinho spent huge money on a midfielder he won’t even play in the big games.
However, former United captain Gary Neville - who provided co-commentary on the Manchester derby for Sky Sports - says he’s yet to see why Fred commanded such a hefty transfer fee.
“Fred at £60 million, he started the first game of the season and he looked bright, he looked tidy - but does he look like what you would expect for £60 million?” Neville said on the Gary Neville Podcast.
“Does he change a game? Does it look like he’s going to defend your goal? Does it look like he’s going to connect back-to-front? At this moment in time, no.”
Pretty cutting words from Neville, although he’s not wrong. Although Fred arrived at Old Trafford with a big reputation, fans have yet to truly see what all the fuss is about.
However, Neville does concede that it’s still very early in Fred’s United career - and that the South American needs more time to prove himself.
“But he’s still developing, he’s still getting used to Manchester United and he’s coming into a very difficult position in the sense that the club aren’t the most stable at this moment in time in terms of their performance levels and the scrutiny that’s been on the club in the past three or four months,” he added.
“So, I wouldn’t put it all onto Fred but you have to ask the question, where was he [on Sunday] in that central midfield?”
Fred will be desperate to show that he is worth the money United paid for him after the international break, starting against Crystal Palace on November 24.
United fans: is Fred good enough? Have your say below.News Now - Sport News