Manchester United, City Target Fred Says He Wants Move from Shakhtar Donetsk

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2018

ROME, ITALY - MARCH 13:  Fred of Shakhtar Donetsk in action during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between AS Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk at Stadio Olimpico on March 13, 2018 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred has said he wants to "make a bigger leap" in his career and move on from the Ukrainian club in the summer amid strong links to Manchester United and Manchester City.

Despite saying he is happy at Shakhtar, he has effectively confirmed he will be moving on in the summer, although where he ends up will not be decided until after the 2018 FIFA World Cup, per SporTV (h/t Perform, via AS):

"I'm very happy at Shakhtar. I've been working well here but it has been five years. I made it clear to the club that I was very happy here but I want to make a bigger leap in my career. There are other clubs interested in England and France. I want to make a bigger leap, I made it clear to the club.

"Now I just have to wait to get through the World Cup and see which is the best destination. I think I have to change a little. I have dreams of playing in major clubs in Europe. I made it clear that it's my moment. The club are reluctant to release [me]. I have a contract until 2021. As soon as I come back from the World Cup we will sit down, talk and look at the options."

Fred, 25, was included in manager Tite's 23-man Brazil squad for the summer's World Cup in Russia when it was announced on Monday, per Squawka:

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Should he enjoy an impressive tournament for the Selecao, his departure from Shakhtar would be more likely, but it could also be more complicated.

A strong performance at a World Cup can boost a player's value and also see more suitors become interested.

Fred already has two of the biggest clubs in the world pursuing him, and Shakhtar will be eager to make as much money from their prize asset as possible, especially given he is contracted to the club to 2023.

Both United and City need a new central midfielder in their squad after the departures of Michael Carrick and Yaya Toure, respectively.

Fred has proved himself to be one of the most capable deep-lying midfielders in Europe in 2017-18, not least with some excellent performances in the UEFA Champions League, per football analyst David O'Brien:

City and United will both be able to offer a big transfer fee and a tempting contract package, and it could come down to whether Fred is more attracted to working with Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho.