Manchester United could consider approaches for struggling Brazilian midfielder Fred when the transfer window opens, amid reports Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made a move for his €50m replacement.
The Brazilian midfielder was signed in a £52million deal from Shakhtar Donetsk in summer 2018, but has struggled to adapt and his displays hit a new nadir before the international break as United slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle to leave them 12th in the table.
And Fred’s performance was subjected to plenty of criticism with BBC pundit Martin Keown tearing strips of the midfielder on Match of the Day 2, while Gary Neville was left to angrily point the finger at Ed Woodward and the United board.
A report earlier this month suggested a slightly bizarre reason behind Jose Mourinho’s decision to sign the Brazilian – but it seems his time at Old Trafford come be coming to an abrupt end if the latest reports are to be believed.
According to Bild, United manager boss Solskjaer is targeting a move for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.
The Switzerland midfielder has been in brilliant form for Gladbach since moving to the Bundesliga, with the likes of Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Tottenham all taking an interest in his displays.
But reports on Thursday claimed it is United who have ‘already registered their interest’, with the Bundesliga side said to have placed a €50m fee on his head.
While some feel the capture of Zakaria would be to supplement numbers in the middle of the park at Old Trafford, it has also heightened speculation that United are willing to allow Fred to move on, possibly on loan, or, if they can find suitors, a permanent sale.
Rather than hide away from his struggles, however, Fred has opted to face his critics head on and admits he needs to make a rapid improvement.
“They are within their rights, they’ve won many titles with this club. We have to shut up and work on the pitch,” Fred told Esporte Interativo.
“Some critics are pointless – but many can offer me lessons. I like to read what people are saying about my performances. With that, I can try to get better.”
On what it means to play for Man United, Fred insisted: “I do understand it.
“Every day when I arrive at the training ground, when I see those big letters with the name of the club, I pinch myself.
“So I know this club is gigantic. I like to read about its history, best players and historical moments.
“It hasn’t been great times for us — our rivals are winning titles and we’re not even in the Champions League. It makes our fans sad and I feel sad as well.
“This club deserves silverware and we’re going to fight to get better. We have to put United back in the place it should never have left.”
A shock report, meanwhile, has claimed United made an enquiry to bring a former Premier League keeper to Old Trafford this summer, amid fears that David De Gea could have been looking to quit the club.