Manchester United: How do latest signings Fred and Diogo Dalot fit in?
Manchester United has strengthened for next season. Fred was confirmed as a Red Devil on Tuesday. Diogo Dalot signed less than 24 hours later.
Man United needed to improve in certain positions. Central midfield and right-back were two priorities. Fred and Dalot represent good business. Closing both deals before the World Cup even better.
What will United's two new additions offer?
Before the deal was announced, a colleague produced a scout report on Fred. Or using his full name, Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos
Jose Mourinho had a reason for pursuing the Brazilian instead of other midfielders linked, such as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Jorginho.
Lazio demanded too much money for Milinkovic-Savic. Furthermore, the Serb is a similar type to Paul Pogba. Both prefer using their skill to attack rather than defend. Napoli's Jorginho, meanwhile, doesn't fit Mourinho's style. Although the Italian is an elegant passer, as well as a workhorse, he lacks the desired pace.
After signing from Shakhtar Donetsk, £52 million-rated Fred will complete United's midfield alongside Nemanja Matic and Pogba.
Fred is an energetic creator, as well as destroyer. In eight Champions League appearances this season, he created nine chances, made eight interceptions and scored a stunning free kick. He also won 18 tackles while completing 23 dribbles, the most of any defensive midfielder.
Fred isn't just another body to free up Pogba. He is much more. The 25-year-old possesses great vision. If a teammate makes a forward run, he will most likely pick them out. His through balls are deadly.
Man United struggled to break down deep blocks this season. Poor crossing and almost non-existent movement were at fault. Fred will fix the latter. If he doesn't make the runs himself, his passing range will encourage Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez to venture forward.
Fred's arrival means Pogba can focus less on defending. The Frenchman will have more opportunities to run in between the lines, exploiting attacking space. The same applies to Sanchez. He can remain where most effective, in the final third.
Fred will take the creative burden off both Pogba and Sanchez. The Chilean often had to drop deep to get involved, leaving Lingard as the only available runner.
Miguel Cardoso, Shakhtar Donetsk's former assistant manager, spoke to the Independent about Fred.
He is perfect, perfect. If Fred needs to fight, he’ll fight. When he needs to play, he plays. He’s very brave, very brave.
Mourinho demands determination. Not only does Fred provide it, he will help United's attack while adding much-needed balance in midfield. His stamina and ball-winning ability will assist the ageing Matic, whose workload was far too high in this campaign. The Serb was tasked with winning the ball, retaining it and dictating play. Fred is competent in all three departments.
A signing which surprised many, Dalot arrived from Porto on a five-year deal. Mourinho's CV isn't glittered with developing youth. He prefers relying on experienced, ready-made talent. Jose, though, has seen something special in the 19-year-old, calling him Europe's top young full-back.
A right-back by trade, Dalot can also deputize on the opposite side. He did so this season at Porto, replacing Alex Telles. The teenager shined, including helping keep a clean sheet against Liverpool's formidable attack at Anfield.
Dalot's experience was mostly gained in Porto's reserves, as well as youth sides. He feated only eight times for the senior team. After bagging three assists during that time, the Portuguese defender was tipped to succeed the departing Ricardo Periera. He couldn't turn down Man United, though.
Dalot has already won multiple honours, including this season's Primeira Liga. He also triumphed at the Under-17 European Championship with Portugal in 2016. His performance earned a place in the Team of the Tournament. A feat repeated a year later at Under-19 level.
Due to Mourinho's ways, Dalot won't get into United's starting eleven initially. Victor Lindelof and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both had to prove worthy before earning first-team chances. This summer's acquisitions must do the same.
Expect Dalot to play a lot in pre-season and domestic cup games. He will soon receive a clear run at securing further minutes, considering Matteo Darmian's expected departure.
Antonio Valencia has been a great servant to Manchester United. He is fading, however. For a former winger, the Ecuadorian offers little going forward. He will be replaced in 6-12 months' time.
Ashley Young takes too long moving the ball onto his right foot. Once that's completed, he delivers a decent cross in every five attempts. Valencia's crosses, meanwhile, rarely beat the first defender.
In terms of attacking impetus, Dalot is an upgrade on United's current full-backs. His crossing ability is a major strength. It enables him to play in an advanced role on the right, a position the Red Devils lack quality. He can also be used as an impact sub, offering width to stretch games.
Blessed with great speed, ball control and composure, Dalot is a natural attacking full-back. He provides options by overlapping. The width supplied will help Man United break opponents down. He will regularly whip in crosses for Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is excellent at heading but lacked service this season.
With near-perfect timing, Dalot is good at making clutch tackles. He is physically strong too, standing at a shade above six feet. As well as possessing awareness, he has outstanding decision-making skills.
Although Dalot still has much to learn, who better to help improve a defender than Mourinho?
Overall, Man United have bought a gem in Diogo Dalot. Maturity beyond his years means he will handle the pressure of representing such a big club. The youngster can command United's right-back position for more than a decade to come.