The impending arrival of Brazilian midfielder Fred has been glowingly endorsed by a vast array of people who have seen him first hand: His former manager, current national manager and ex-Barcelona icon Rivaldo have all given their approval at United’s decision to capture the midfielder, who was widely believed to be on his way to Manchester City in January.
When the formalities are officially completed, Fred’s attention will be on the World Cup in Russia. Then, it will be a question of whether he can buck the trend of Brazilians who have had mixed fortunes at the club:
Kleberson went down in history as the first Brazilian to play for United and was widely seen as a replacement for Juan Veron on signing in 2003 off the back of a World Cup triumph in South Korea and Japan. He seldom threatened to trouble the established stars of Roy Keane, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes in the middle of the park and only mustered 30 appearances in two seasons. He was subsequently transferred to Besiktas, never to be seen again.
Anderson’s CV will tell you he succeeded at United. In a way, he did: He managed to spend eight years at Old Trafford but only fleetingly showed signs of the promise that persuaded Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him from FC Porto. He sure had his moments of success- dominating Steven Gerrard and Cesc Fabregas at Anfield and the Emirates respectively to hammering a penalty past Petr Cech in Moscow in 2008. Anderson won nine major honours at the club, but was dogged by off the pitch incidents and questions about his fitness and weight. Anderson returned to his homeland in 2015 and required oxygen on his debut due to the altitude. His time at Internacional involved a recent loan spell at Coritiba but now, at the relatively tender age of 30, is a free agent and nosedived off the footballing surface. What a fall from grace.
Rodrigo Possebon showed signs of potential before failing to recover from an horrific leg injury sustained against Middlesbrough in a League Cup tie at Old Trafford. A shocking tackle from Emmanuel Pogatetz put pay to a promising start. He only managed eight first team appearances before being sent on loan to Braga in Portugal. He now plies his trade in his native country with Santos.
Rafael Da Silva quickly became a fans’ favourite with his enthusiasm and passion. He provided bundles of energy and loved to attack. He flourished under Sir Alex’s guidance and looked a sure replacement for the retired Gary Neville. His legacy included memorable strikes against Arsenal and famously at Anfield and Loftus Road. He gradually became marginalised under David Moyes and was binned by Louis Van Gaal. He is now trying to salvage his career at Lyon in France but his popularity remains intact.
Fabio Da Silva perhaps did not enjoy the same level of success as his twin brother, in no small part due to the sterling levels of consistency shown by club legend Patrice Evra. That is no slight on Fabio, though, and he was still trusted to start the 2011 Champions League final at right-back against Barcelona and clocked over a half century of appearances at United. He has had a mixed time of things post-United, returning back to the scene of that wonder goal at QPR, followed by spells at Cardiff and presently Championship outfit Middlesbrough.
Andreas Pereira is entering a critical juncture in his United career. Having gone against Jose Mourinho’s advice and wishes to fight for his place, he spent another season in Spain at Valencia, having shone at Granada the season prior. The attacking midfielder has quality, as evidenced by his only goal for the club thus far being a glorious free-kick in a League Cup tie against Ipswich in the Van Gaal days. There is scope for midfield opportunities next season and Pereira could well add to his 13 appearances to date.
In Fred, United are acquiring a serial winner- with Shakthar enjoying huge success in Ukraine and is surrounded by golden performers for his country this summer. His style is widely acknowledged to suit United’s current needs- a ball winning midfielder combined with the Samba way of playing and, as you would expect, an ease on the ball and eye for a pass.
At 25, the stage is set for him to improve further in a better standard of league and player. He won more tackles and duels statistically than Liverpool’s latest recruit Fabinho, whose name was mentioned alongside United’s, albeit for agent’s purposes.
The Brazilian, rather than the mascot, has what is required to be the real Fred in town.
If that’s the case, he will go a long way to breaking the trend of Brazilian misfortune at United.