Jose Mourinho only approved the signing of Fred in the summer of 2018 because Manchester United would otherwise end the transfer window without a midfielder, according to a report.

The Brazilian completed a move to Old Trafford from Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of £52m in July.

Following 32 appearances in a Man United shirt, many supporters have grown exasperated at Fred’s performances – especially the one against Newcastle United.

According to the very reliable David Ornstein in The Athletic, Mourinho only approved the signing of Fred because the midfielder was the last resort.

That summer saw United signing Diogo Dalot, Fred and Lee Grant in one of the most laughable transfer windows in recent times – especially so with a year of hindsight.

Dalot is rough around the edges and his decision making often lets him down, but you suspect that there is, somewhere, a player in there.

With Fred, well… it’s different. With Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba missing, the midfielder needed to perform in Paris back in March, and he did with magnificent skill.

Since then, though, the 26-year-old does not seem to be at full fitness, unable to truly get firing without the gun of European elimination pointing at his head.

It would perhaps be wise to give the man some minutes with the reserves before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decides to start him again.


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Leo Nieboer