|Source: Fox Sports Asia|
With the apparent upheaval of the Manchester United team and the rumours of multiple new signings in the United midfield, we have to question the future of last summer’s only major signing – Fred.
There is no disagreement between Manchester United fans that it was a turbulent season last season for the whole club with the sacking of Mourinho and Solskjaer’s hiring causing even more uncertainty. A player who epitomizes this turbulence is Fred, the United number 17 made 25 appearances for the Red Devils last season only contributed to 2 goals.
From the outside looking in, it would seem that the signing of Fred has been a flop, however with the case of Fred it isn’t that simple. Under Mourinho, Fred hardely got a look in and even when he did his performances were average to below average at best. But this can also be seen with the performances of many of the United players under his reign last season. If we look at his performances under Solskjaer we can see a much improve player who’s all around game, while still needs work, helped contribute to the team during that successful run of form.
If we look at the stats, we can see that over the course of the season Fred’s strengths were his defensive contribution and his passing with him making 1.7 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game as well as having a 86.3% pass accuracy over the course of the season and contributing to 0.7 key passes a game (whoscored.com). While these stats aren’t spectacular, they do show that Fred is a solid combative midfielder who if played with the right pairing could massively contribute to United going foward.
However, there are still weakness in Fred’s play, most notably his concentration and reading of the game and his aerial ability. This is shown by the fact that he makes 1.5 fouls a game and only wins 0.2 of his aerial battles (whoscored.com). These show that though Fred has a good defensive contribution, his lack concentration and game reading ability means that more often than not he’ll give away a free kick to the opposition, which we saw cost United on several occasions last season. Additionally, these stats shows that Fred is more a piece of a jigsaw rather than a player that can do it all himself, and he needs to be partnered next to a player with a good aerial presence to make up for his lack of heading ability in middle of the park.
Overall, I believe that Fred has a future at Manchester United. However, in order for him to be successful he will need to improve on the glaring weaknesses of his game and United need to sign midfielders that complement him and his game. I believe that Fred’s success as a United player is down to our business in the transfer market and who we recruit in midfield to partner him and whoever else will be playing there next season.