Manchester United have spent more money on players in the last few years than ever before. In 2013 they smashed their transfer record by acquiring Juan Mata for 37.1m GBP. Angel di Maria cost almost double that when he arrived. And Paul Pogba’s return to Old Trafford in 2016 signalled a new world record fee which was nearly equalled by the arrival of Romelu Lukaku last year.
But the fourth biggest signing in Manchester United’s history has flown under the radar so far.
At around 52.5m GBP Brazil midfielder Fred is not having the immediate impact that he would have hoped for at the club.
The Premier League has represented a baptism of fire for the 25-year-old and there is already concern that he may shrink under the intense glare of the club.
It’s way to early for a fair judgement of the player but, while he’s mobile and energetic, he’s not a player who will physically dominate in this league.
So his technique, creativity and goal scoring ability will need to come to the fore moving forward.
Big money Jose Mourinho signings like Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof have spent long periods on the bench due to a failure to quickly adapt to a new league.
And Manchester United fans will hope Fred can make his mark soon rather than fading into Kleberson territory. Because Fred has been overlooked in the last two league games as Mourinho has favoured Marouane Fellaini against physical sides away from home.
At the moment it looks like a huge fee for Fred, who hasn’t yet demonstrated any special qualities in his game.
The one game suspension for Nemanja Matic should give Fred the opportunity to illustrate his talents with home comforts in a winnable games against Wolves next weekend. Jose will surely opt for him over Scott McTominay in the absence of Matic, to help get his biggest summer signing up and running – adding value to the strongest XI.