Manchester City Reportedly Agree to £44.5m Deal for Shakhtar Donetsk Star Fred

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 9, 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)

Manchester City have reportedly agreed a "deal in principle" to sign Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred for £44.5 million this summer.

The Citizens have been linked with a move for the Brazil international in recent months and are understood to have clinched his loyalties ahead of time, although Goal's Bruno Andrade added "nothing is officially signed."

City attempted to get a deal for the player over the line during the January transfer window, but Shakhtar retained their playmaker's talents for the rest of the season, and he's now set to leave at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

According to the report, City are attempting to complete as much of their summer business as possible ahead of time, with Guardiola having invested heavily in the squad already during his first 18 months in charge.

The club completed a late swoop to sign centre-back Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao towards the end of the winter transfer window, and Goal's Sam Lee gave some indication as to their plans on top of the defender:

Sam Lee @Sammy_Goal

City went for Laporte/Mahrez/Fred because they don’t want to do much in the summer. My guess is they’ll try to tie up Fred ASAP, but no guarantees they’ll look at Mahrez again. He was/is seen as a long-term option (not just a Sane-induced panic) but there are other targets.

Fred will become City's second high-profile recruit from Shakhtar after Fernandinho joined from the Ukrainian powerhouse in June 2013, with Fred's fee trumping the £34 million it took to acquire the latter's services.

It was in that same summer Shakhtar signed Fred from Internacional as a form of replacement for his Brazilian compatriot, and now it looks as though the pair may have the opportunity to combine at the Etihad.

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News previously commented on City's desire to land a January deal and the role rivals Manchester United could play in the transfer:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

City have had two bids rejected for Fred, whose camp is encouraging United to make a move #mufc #mcfc https://t.co/wPCnDaiAaX

The transfer was also smoothed over by Fred's own desire to join the Premier League leaders, as he told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport last month about his joy at being discussed, per Goal's Nicholas McGee:

"A friend gave me the news saying that City and Guardiola were interested in me. I'm happy to be so well known in Europe. 

"But I renewed with Shakhtar for five years. If there is any interest I will talk with my agent, and the family. But I'm calm."

It's possible United's alleged interest was a big factor in convincing City to move for their man so early in the year, rather than run the risk of allowing another team to swoop in on their target.

Fred has made 142 appearances in four-and-a-half years in Ukraine, winning one league title and three Ukraine Super Cups in the process.


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