Manchester City are reportedly closing in on their first signing of the current transfer window – Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.
According to a report by Daily Mail, Fred is on the verge of becoming Manchester City’s first January signing in a £50 million deal. The Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder is also the subject of interest from Arsenal, who are in need of midfield reinforcements.
Fred burst onto the scene at Brazilian club Internacional before making his way to Europe by joining Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2013. Now in his fifth season at the Ukrainian club, the player has slowly built his reputation as a promising holding midfielder.
This season, in particular, Fred has excelled in a deep lying role, holding the fort in front of the back four while also being comfortable in possession. The player has also shown a tendency to contribute to his team’s attacking output, with two goals and four assists in 24 appearances across all competitions.
The rise in stature has also brought forth interest from several top clubs, with Manchester City and Arsenal reportedly in pursuit of the Brazil international over a move in the winter transfer window.
Fred – Shakhtar Donetsk
Fernandinho has become Manchester City’s unsung hero, but he’ll be 33 after this season. That means Pep’s had to find a replacement.
That player? Fred.pic.twitter.com/uWNvwbvbNi
— EiF (@EiF_Highlights) January 19, 2018
Pep Guardiola has a gamut of midfielders at his disposal, but most of them are creative options, with Fernandinho the only player who can play the role of an anchor man in front of the back-four. With the Brazilian midfielder on the wrong side of 30, his compatriot becomes a viable target for Manchester City.
Arsenal, on the other hand, do not have a single out-and-out defensive midfielder, with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey not possessing the abilities required to keep things tight in midfield.
Fred is, thus, someone who could fill that gaping hole in Arsene Wenger’s side and pave the way for more stability in the middle. Manchester United are also interested in the 24-year-old with Jose Mourinho eager to make bolster his midfield options, but Manchester City have stormed into the lead for his signature.
The Citizens are looking to wrap up a £50 million deal this month, although Shakhtar are unwilling to sell him before the summer. The Ukrainian club are still in the Champions League and are looking to remain competitive in Europe’s premier club competition, wherein they face AS Roma in the Round of 16 tie.
But, a £50 million inflow from Manchester City could also help them make reinforcements in several areas of the pitch, and bolster the entire squad.
As far as Manchester City are concerned, they are unperturbed by the fact that Fred will be cup-tied as his addition would help in domestic competitions, with the Citizens still in contention to succeed on all four fronts. It now remains to be seen if a move sees the light of the day, with Guardiola looking to wrap up the deal swiftly.