Manchester City Transfer News: Fred Tipped to Make Summer Move, Top Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2018

Napoli's midfielder from Poland Piotr Zielinski (L) vies with Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian midfielder Fred during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match Napoli vs Shakhtar Donetsk on November 21, 2017 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples.  / AFP PHOTO / Carlo Hermann        (Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Fred will choose to join Manchester City this summer, according to former Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu, who expects the Brazil international to quit the Ukrainian club.

Lucescu, who gave Fred his start at Shakhtar, believes the 24-year-old will follow the same path as a former team-mate, per Harry Brent of the Daily Express: "He will go to City like Fernandinho before him."

Fred seems like the obvious successor to 32-year-old Fernandinho, but Turkey national team boss Lucescu revealed how the younger man has adapted his game: "Shakhtar Donetsk's best player is Fred in the centre of midfield. He was a bit anarchic on the left. I moved him in front of the defence."

Being able to play ahead of the back four is vital for a City starting XI heavily populated by forward-thinking midfielders. While David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne pull strings in the final third, the player behind them is charged with providing balance.

City have limited options at the base of midfield behind Fernandinho.
City have limited options at the base of midfield behind Fernandinho.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It's a job Fernandinho has performed admirably this season. The problem is the Citizens don't have an alternative to the tough-tackling veteran.

Yaya Toure is 34 and has always been at his best raiding forward. Similarly, Ilkay Gundogan thrives on the ball rather than breaking up play.

City manager Pep Guardiola's decision to offload Fernando last summer thinned the ranks at arguably the most important position in the Premier League leaders' squad.

It's why the Citizens have been so keen to do a deal for Fred, with Brent revealing how the club tried to sign him during the January transfer window, "but Shakhtar wanted to hang on to the player, at least until the summer."

Lucescu believes Fred will move to the Etihad Stadium.
Lucescu believes Fred will move to the Etihad Stadium.ADEM ALTAN/Getty Images

Brent pointed out how city rivals "Manchester United also came up against the same resistance."

The Red Devils were tempted by a late move for the South American during the winter transfer window after City had two bids knocked back, according to The Sun's Warren Haughton.

United have a need for Fred as Nemanja Matic has been struggling since arriving from Chelsea last summer, while Michael Carrick is now 36. The England international is also being tipped to become a member of manager Jose Mourinho's staff this summer, per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News.

Judging by Lucescu's comments, United will come up short in their attempts to land a vital stabilising influence for their squad, but the Reds' loss will be City's considerable gain.