Manchester United are gunning for a summer deal to sign Shakhtar Donetsk star Fred with Manchester City reportedly ending their interest in the midfielder.

According to an exclusive report from Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are ready to step up their efforts in pursuit of Fred after being reportedly handed a boost. The report iterates that the Red Devils are now pushing to complete a deal to sign Fred, with Manchester City pulling out of the race to sign the Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder.

Fred arrived at Shakhtar from Internacional in 2013 and has since amassed 151 senior appearances for the Ukranian giants. But, it was only after Fernandinho’s departure to Manchester City that the player was truly able to come into his own at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Fred was pushed into a more regular spot within the team as the replacement for Fernandinho and the Brazilian has done more than well to compensate for the departure of his compatriot. In fact, Fred managed to offset Fernandinho’s absence so effectively that he has been earmarked by Pep Guardiola to take over from the midfielder at Manchester City as well.

Manchester City’s interest in Fred stands from the summer of 2017 and the Citizens have reportedly always kept a close eye on Fred’s developments at Shakhtar Donetsk. With Fernandinho already 32, a replacement is needed and Fred was seen as a natural successor for the midfield general.

Manchester City had always been touted to be the favourites to land Fred. But, Manchester United’s entry has caught City by surprise. Manchester United’s need for a new midfielder stems from Michael Carrick’s conversion from a player into a coach and Marouane Fellaini’s contract situation, with the Belgian likely to leave on a Bosman in the summer.

City seems to have passed the baton on to United. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

City seems to have passed the baton on to United. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

There are also talks that Jose Mourinho intends to play a midfield three in order to unlock Paul Pogba’s true potential. Fred would be the perfect fit in the midfield jigsaw puzzle, wherein Mourinho already has Nemanja Matic and Pogba, with Ander Herrera as an able option in rotation.

Manchester United were reported to have established contact with the player’s representatives after the end of the winter transfer window and even though there are other European clubs vying for Fred’s signature, it was always touted to be a straight fight between the two Manchester clubs.

Thus, the rumours of Manchester City cooling their interest in Fred would come as a huge boost to Manchester United and their chances of landing Fred. In fact, the report iterates that United are now pushing to conclude a deal as soon as possible to facilitate the transfer of Fred from Shakhtar in the summer.

The hurry might be associated with the fear of City reigniting their interest before the summer transfer window opens, which is why United want a deal agreed soon. Manchester United do seem to be in the lead and could wrap things up, as far as Fred’s future is concerned.

Manchester City though, could be looking at other targets as there aren’t any other discernible reasons for the newly crowned Premier League champions pulling out of the race for Fred.

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