United agrees deal for Fred

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Manchester United announced yesterday it has agreed a deal to sign Brazil international midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk.
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Manchester United announced yesterday it has agreed a deal to sign Brazil international midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk as Jose Mourinho seeks to topple reigning English Premier League champion Manchester City.

The 25-year-old will cost the English giant a reported fee of about 52 million pounds (US$69 million) and give Mourinho a powerful-looking midfield, with the Brazilian set to slot in alongside Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.

A statement on the club’s website said: “Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement with Shakhtar Donetsk for the transfer of Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos (Fred).

“A further announcement will be made in due course.”

United finished second in the EPL behind City but was a whopping 19 points behind.

And beating City to the signature of Fred, who was a target for the English champion in January, could prove to be a significant first step.

Fred caught the eye in Shakhtar’s run to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, where the Ukrainians only lost out on away goals to AS Roma.

A stunning free-kick in the first leg of that tie was a glimpse of what Fred’s talented left foot can produce.

However, he is far more of a creator than goalscorer as his record of just 15 goals in five years at Shakhtar suggests.

United is in need of midfield reinforcements with Michael Carrick retiring and Marouane Fellaini out of contract.

Mourinho’s task will now be to harness Fred’s passing ability, while also finally getting the best out of Pogba in his third season since an 89-million pound move from Juventus.

Fred will hope to make the same impact on the EPL as Brazil international teammates Willian and Fernandinho, who also arrived in England via spells with Shakhtar.

United fans are unlikely to get much of a glimpse of Fred at the World Cup in Russia, though, as he is yet to start an international under current coach Tite.

Meanwhile, Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner became the first new recruit for new Arsenal coach Unai Emery, on a free transfer from Juventus yesterday.

The 34-year-old defender won Serie A in each of his seven years at Juve. He will compete with Hector Bellerin for starts.

He leads Switzerland into his third World Cup next week.


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