Following Manchester United’s embarrassing 2-1 home defeat to Sevilla on Tuesday night, the media was awash with analysis of the Reds’ elimination from the Champions League, as pundits tore into manager Jose Mourinho’s negative approach to arguably his side’s biggest game of the season. Many had their say on the disappointing performances put in by the likes of January signing Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Paul Pogba, who came off the bench on the hour mark in the hope of dragging the Reds through to the quarter-finals but was instead anonymous. Besides the criticism of United’s poor showing, there were also a number of names linked with a move or an exit from Old Trafford during the summer months.
Fred to move to United instead of City?
Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, who was seemingly destined to join cross-town rivals Manchester City at the end of the season, is now set to move to the red half of the city instead, according to the Times. The report states that the Ukrainian club met with City officials in order to trash out a deal but the Citizens were unable to meet Shakhtar’s asking price for the player, believed to be at around £40 million. With City seemingly set to pull out of the deal for Fred, the Brazilian will instead opt to make the move to Old Trafford, a transfer which the Ukrainian outfit’s chief executive seems sure will materialise.
“If not to Manchester City, then to Manchester United,” Sergei Palkin is quoted as saying by Corriere dello Sport. “In addition to being very good, Fred is very professional.”
Mourinho could find himself short of midfield options in the summer, with club captain Michael Carrick announcing plans to retire at the end of the campaign, while Marouane Fellaini is expected to leave the club on a free transfer. Despite the emergence of academy graduate Scott McTominay in the middle of the park, the Reds’ boss may see the need to dip into the transfer market and strengthen the spine of his team, making a move for Fred look like a very realistic possibility.
Everton line-up summer move for Phil Jones
Carrick and Fellaini may not be the only two players set to leave Old Trafford this summer, with the Times reporting that centre-back Phil Jones has emerged as a transfer target for Everton manager Sam Allardyce. Whilst his future at Goodison Park beyond the current campaign is far from certain, the former Crystal Palace boss is a keen admirer of the English international, having handed him his professional debut during the pair’s time together at Blackburn Rovers, back in 2009. Jones, who has missed United’s last six matches due to hamstring trouble, was playing arguably the best football of his career prior to picking up his injury. The 26-year-old faces stiff competition to nail down a regular first-team spot at Old Trafford, with the likes of Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling all featuring heavily in Mourinho’s plans. Since moving to United from Blackburn back in 2011, Jones has struggled to fulfil his undoubted potential, largely due to the amount of fitness trouble he has encountered. With the Reds set to miss out on Premier League and Champions League glory, Mourinho will be required to do a fair bit of soul searching during the close season and it would be no surprise to see a number of players coming through the Old Trafford doors.