When Manchester United signed Fred for £47million (BBC), he was expected to excel at Old Trafford. After all, here was a player once tipped to join Manchester City but instead heading for the red half of the city.
The Brazilian began the season in United’s starting line-up. But back-to-back league defeats saw him dropped and he has only featured sporadically since.
Despite those early season struggles, Fred is facing his biggest United challenge yet.
The FA Cup fourth round clash against Arsenal awaits, and the midfielder is expected to start.
The third-round clash against Reading allowed Fred the chance to prove his worth. It was his drive forward that ultimately led to the opening goal (via the penalty spot).
With United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expected to ring the changes, the summer signing should start. It is then up to him to boss Arsenal’s midfield and prove he can cut it against top English opponents.
Some players take time to settle in new surroundings – just ask Victor Lindelof – and Fred could play a big role for United in time. However, he needs to take every chance that comes his way.
The clash with the Gunners this Friday is an ideal opportunity. He needs to excel at the Emirates Stadium as Solskjaer aims to make it eight wins on the bounce.
If he does that, United will know they have a great chance of FA Cup success this year. It will also give Fred some much needed confidence.