Manchester United Football Club had a torrid summer, particularly where squad investment was concerned. Jose Mourinho tried hard to bring in a centre-back, but obviously, that pursuit was ultimately an unsuccessful one.
The only major signing was Fred, who cost a bucket-load to acquire from Shakhtar Donetsk. The Brazilian started the season well. He looked to be the midfield’s new-found driving force, but quickly, United’s #17 became more and more comfortable on the substitutes bench.
Against City at the weekend, Paul Pogba was injured, Marouane Fellaini was half-fit and Nemanja Matic continued his poor form. Could Fred get a look-in? Nope… He remained slumped in his seat.
That was a decision that clearly left ex-Red Gary Neville baffled, and you have to agree with the former right-back.
‘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?’, said Neville, per The Metro.
‘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.’
‘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,’
‘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?’
What’s the point in spending so much money on him if you’re not going to at least give him an opportunity to prove his worth? It’s just pointless that, after one bad game he’ll never get another chance for months on end.
Sure, it will take time for him to develop and grow, but the only way he’s going to improve is by playing in those high-pressure matches. Mourinho should have at least thrown him on in the second-half, as at the very least, he would have brought some bite to a key area of the field.
Heck, United had nothing to lose at that point, and I bet Fred himself is feeling immensely frustrated.