According to Paul Hirst of The Times, Manchester City have given up on their pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, failing to reach an agreement on his transfer. According to sources Fred was valued around £40 million for his services but the two sides failed to reach an agreement, and he is now unlikely to move to City. Manchester United are seen as the front-runners with Chelsea also interested in the player.
City are desperate to find a younger replacement for Fernandinho, since his position as a holding midfielder is so important in Pep Guardiola’s system. Fred was seen as the heir to Fernandinho, with Fred himself saying publicly that he wanted to play for Pep.
According to Hirst, City will now turn their attention to Julian Weigl of Borussia Dortmund. Seen as one of the best holding midfield prospects in Europe, Weigl has been compared to the likes of Sergio Busquets of Barcelona. City have also been heavily linked to Emre Can of Liverpool, though that’s unlikely.
My take here is that this isn’t over. Its just one report from one journalist. Sure, the two sides might be far off on a deal, but there’s still plenty of time for something to get done. Fred has spoken publicly on his desire to play for Pep, and Pep has clearly identified Fred as the next Fernandinho.
All that needs to be done is for an agreement to be reached. If City don’t value Fred at £40 million, they will have an even harder time with Julian Weigl, who is the more highly rated prospect. He too will be expensive, and much more than Fred.
If things don’t work, that’s fine. Fred is a good player, but there are other top young holding midfielders to go after. But at the same time, I don’t think this is over and I expect City to continue their pursuit of Fred. It’s just how transfers work.