Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has targeted Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred in bid to bolster his midfield in anticipation of Michael Carrick retirement from football, according to the Sun.
Mourinho has been complaining about a lack of options in midfield with the team being ravaged by recurring injuries to Paul Pogba, Maroune Fellaini and Michael Carrick througout season. To top it, Mourinho has excluded Heinrilh Mkhitaryan from his plans as the Armenian looks set to depart Old Trafford as soon as this January.
Fred, 24, is part of Mourinho’s plan to bolster his squad with two new midfielders. The Portuguese said earlier: “If – next summer – we are going to sign a midfielder player, it’s to replace Michael Carrick.
“And Michael is a phenomenal player that, this season he couldn’t give us anything at all. He’s in the end of his career, so if next summer we buy a midfield player, it’s not to improve our squad, it’s to replace Michael Carrick.
“So to improve our squad in the midfield, we would need to buy two.”
United, however, will face opposition from City’s Pep Guardiola who is also on the lookout for a quality defensive midfielder. It is understood the Portuguese manager wants to hit two birds with one stone – improve his squad and slow City down in aqcuiring the right players in the transfer market.
The downside of a potential Fred deal, however, is that United will not be able to use outcast Mkhitaryan in bid to reduce the asking price for Fred, which is likely to go as high as £40 million should the Russian outfit decide to leverage the two Manchester clubs' interest in their player.
It is understood that Mourinho is also chasing Valencia’s Carlos Soler and Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez, but the latter’s release clause of 140 million might deter further advances.
Fred is in his fifth season with Shakthar following his £14-million move from Internacional in 2013, and has completed 90 games for the club so far. He came on Guardiola’s radar when Shakthar inflicted the Citizens their only defeat this season in a Champions League group stages clash in early December.
His current contract with Shakthar runs to 2021.