It’s not everyday a club president is as open about selling one of his players as Rinat Akhmetov is, but when it comes to Fred’s likely departure, there appears to be a sense of pride about it all.
Having already sold Fernandinho to Manchester City a few years ago, Shakhtar Donetsk are on the verge of losing another of their Brazilian stars, with Manchester United the likeliest destination for the aforementioned 25-year-old.
However, things could have been very different in January had Shakhtar accepted an offer from Pep Guardiola’s side for Fred, which Akhmetov officially confirmed to the club’s website this week.
He said: “You know that we had negotiations with Manchester City this winter, and there was an official offer – a very big figure. They offered us around €50m for Fred. And we had enough strength to reject it, because we were playing in the Champions League, we were finishing the Ukrainian League campaign.
“We won the championship and the Cup – in principle, our decision was correct. And I am convinced that we will receive and are receiving no less interesting proposals than that from Manchester City.”
Already managing to extract £36m for Fernandinho, then 28, back in 2013, it will be interesting to see how much they can get for Fred, who is three years younger and has five years left on the contract he renewed in January.
When it comes to that particular part of the deal, Akhmetov knows vaguely what the outcome will be.
He continued: “We’ll get exactly the amount he costs. We can’t get a dollar if the player costs 50 cents. We don’t want to sell him for 50 cents if the football player costs a dollar.
“This will be a market price, the fair price, and it will be beneficial both for the club inviting Fred and for us. That is, I can somewhat feel that Fred will be more expensive than Fernandinho and Teixeira.”
Considering they rejected €50m from Manchester City back in January, you’d expect whoever gets him will have to at least match it.
If the number of rumours circulating prove to be true, then Manchester United will do just that, and José Mourinho will get the midfield reinforcement he desires.
Akhmetov hinted as much when interviewed by Футбол 1 in Ukraine, relayed by Football24.ua, claiming Shakhtar ‘will sell Fred to a good and strong club, do not doubt it’, and, let’s be honest, there’s only a few clubs in Europe who would be prepared to pay that much for a midfielder.
The Red Devils are one of them.