Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred was heavily linked with Manchester City in the January transfer window, but a deal never materialised, despite reports that there was an offer on the table. The 25-year-old is thought to be on Pep Guardiola's summer wish list but according to Shakhtar's CEO the midfielder could move to their cross town rivals.
Sergei Palkin gave an interview with Corriere dello Sport where revealed that Pep Guardiola could have some competition for the Brazilian's signature:
Fred isn’t already at Manchester City, but he will surely leave in June. If not to City, then Manchester United. He’s ready for the next stage, because as well as being good, he’s also very professional. If he asked us to stay another year, we’d let him.
Fred who primarily plays as a defensive midfielder for Shakhtar is seen as a replacement for the ageing Fernandinho or similarly could be an understudy for the 29-year-old Nemanja Matic at United.
The two clubs have already crossed swords in the transfer window recently, having battled it out to sign Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, United winning out in one of the biggest transfer sagas of the January window.
Shakhtar are currently leading the Ukrainian first division and take on Roma tonight in the Champions league, leading 2-1 on aggregate. Fred is expected to feature tonight and the 25-year-old has revealed his desire to play in the Premier League in an interview with ESPN Brasil:
City are a great team, I would be happy to play there… or at Manchester United as well, at Chelsea, Arsenal, clubs of great tradition in Europe and England. It is the best league in the world, I have no doubt, and I believe that my football would evolve.
I’m still 25, there’s a lot to grow and learn, play and observe great players of these clubs. That would help a lot, learn by watching them. I’m sure that I will evolve in the future and that my agents will help me a lot to make the best decision possible, so that in the next window I am at a Premier League club.
Fred also confirmed that Manchester City did make contact with his agent in January to sound out a possible move:
Guardiola did not talk to me, but there were people from City who talked to my agent. Unfortunately it did not work out, but now I’m focused here, out of the window we try to forget and focus on football. In the middle of the year, we wait to see what will happen.