Manchester City have begun work on a £30million deal for Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred, James Robson reports for the Manchester Evening News.
The 24-year-old, full name Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos, impressed against City in both Champions League Group F games enough for Pep Guardiola to consider him as a potential long-term successor for compatriot Fernandinho.
And it’s now reported that the groundwork has started on a deal, more likely to happen in the summer than January, with City tasking intermediaries to work on a transfer.
Fernandinho is showing the best form of his career under Guardiola at the age of 32, and will not last forever. And with Yaya Touré now 34, on his way out and rarely used by Guardiola, there have been few options to rotate Fernandinho out of the side, putting great reliance on the Brazilian remaining fit.
Fred, who is also said to be attracting the interest of Manchester United and Arsenal, would follow the same pathway as Fernandinho were he to swap Shakhtar for Manchester City. He has played predominantly as a holding midfielder in this year’s Champions League, but can also play further up the pitch, the sort of versatility that Guardiola appreciates.
Were he to arrive in January, which is less likely than in the summer, he would be cup-tied in the Champions League having already appeared in the same group as City.
The former Internacional player recently told the Brazilian press how excited he was at the idea of playing for a side such as City.
“I’m eagerly waiting for Guardiola’s phone call to arrive,” Fred said. “I think I would grow a lot with him. I can still grow [as a player].
“England is the best league in the world, I’ve always had the dream of playing there. It could suit me well. It would be important to play in England with one of the great coaches. It’s a dream I have.”
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