Manchester United looked like a team who were actually trying against Manchester City on Wednesday evening. For about 20 minutes.
A number of players in red looked like they were unsure of what to do on the ball, apart from Marcus Rashford in fairness, but none looked more confused and disoriented than Fred.
It is becoming increasingly harder to see just what the Brazilian international is actually good at. It is also quite baffling to think about why the Red Devils spent £52m on him back in the summer.
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There are no outstanding qualities. A tidy passer, perhaps? The odd tackle here and there? He isn’t particularly quick nor strong, and isn’t a towering presence in the middle of the park.
Just by looking at what his direct opponent on the evening in Fernandinho offered, you can clearly see that United have bought a dud – it could even be argued that he has been a worse signing than Alexis Sanchez.
Fred just looks happy to be at the club, like a competition winner. He never really shone out in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk, a league that isn’t really comparable to the Premier League – even the better performers out there would potentially struggle in England.
Pound for pound, Fred is definitely a worse signing that Sanchez. Whilst the Chilean has been awful, he was signed on a free transfer, and his huge wages have been offset slightly by the fact they were able to offload Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s wage packet of £120,000-a-week; there was at least reason to sign the former Udinese man as well, given his previous world-class form with Arsenal.
In Fred’s case, as previously touched on, there was little reason to sign him, and the club are now stuck with his reported £175,000-a-week wages for the next four years.
Unless he settles soon and starts to show why the 20-time Premier League champions splashed out such huge sums of money on him, Fred may go down as one of the most useless buys in the club’s history – he has offered virtually nothing so far this season.