Jose Mourinho’s treatment of summer signing Fred is the biggest black mark against handing him a transfer warchest this January.
Mourinho has consistently left the £53 million Brazilian midfielder on the bench since he signed this summer.
For a manager hoping to be given more funds in January, it’s an odd move.
Chief executive Ed Woodward has made clear that money is available for transfers. He and Mourinho clashed late in the summer window, and no defender was bought.
By leaving the midfielder on the bench each week, he is essentially showing that he cannot be trusted to spend money effectively.
The case for Fred
Fred has played well this season when given opportunities. He has not been spectacular, but he has certainly not been awful either.
He has played only two matches for United since September, against Everton and Bournemouth. United won both of them.
He has one goal and one assist so far this season, scoring in the draw with Wolves.
Defensively he leads United in tackles per game out of all midfielders. He also is out in front in terms of interceptions, of midfielders who have played five times or more.
Mourinho is making himself look bad by keeping Fred on the bench.
The repercussions could be worse than simply optics, if he is denied the ability to spend as he wants in January.
Giving Fred a run of games over the next few weeks is likely to help his cause.