Brazil midfielder Fred agrees to join Manchester City

Updated 23 January 2018
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Brazil midfielder Fred agrees to join Manchester City

LONDON: Brazil midfielder Fred has agreed to join Manchester City, with negotiations between the Premier League club and Shakhtar Donetsk now centered upon the timing of the transfer. Pep Guardiola wants to add the 24-year-old to his squad for the remainder of a season in which City are still competing on four fronts. Shakhtar’s preference is to retain a player who has been fundamental to their progress in the Champions League until the summer before switching his registration.
Manchester United also explored the possibility of bringing Fred to England in the current transfer window as Jose Mourinho sought to restructure a midfield that has been persistently weakened by player unavailability this season. Unlike their successful head-to-head battle to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, however, United have accepted that the versatile midfielder is destined for their rivals.
Part of the Shakhtar team which inflicted the first defeat of City’s stellar campaign in a December Champions League group game, Fred is expected to share duties as a link between Guardiola’s defense and attack with Fernandinho. The Brazilian can also operate further forward in City’s 4-1-2-3 system, covering the positions normally filled by David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.
A senior Shakhtar source expects the club to receive a fee in the region of €40 million ($48 million) from City. The Ukrainian champions have been attempting to secure a replacement for Fred, with Dinamo Zagreb teenager Nikola Moro a candidate for the role.
City’s expenditure on Fred follows significant investments in upgrading and extending the contracts of Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi until the summer of 2020 and 2021 respectively. The Abu Dhabi-owned club also lengthened Silva’s contract until 2020 at the end of November and is about to tie De Bruyne to a new deal that will make him its best-paid
player at the club.
With all of Guardiola’s first-choice midfield secured to long-term deals that include unusually large performance-related bonuses, City will move on to improving the financial terms of the Catalan’s preferred forward trio — Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane. The degree of expenditure on new deals coupled with the 29 Premier League goals contributed by those three attackers is related to the decision to allow Sanchez to join United.

Although City agreed to give Sanchez (pictured above) their top salary in order to sign the Chile international from Arsenal in the summer, also committing to pay a transfer fee of £55 million ($76 million) plus £5 million of variables to the London club, that deadline-day switch fell through. When Arsenal reduced their asking price to £35 million in the January window Sanchez’s representatives asked that the differential on transfer fee be paid to the player.
City refused, allowing United to bring the forward to Old Trafford.
Manchester’s best-supported club was able to secure Sanchez without paying a transfer fee, sending the out-of-favor Henrikh Mkhitaryan – who turned 29 on Sunday — to Arsenal instead.
“We have tried to find the best possible solution,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “And the best possible solution is that we lose a world-class player, I don’t deny that at all, but we did not lose him without getting somebody after. The future will tell if it was the right decision or not.
“I cannot understand anybody wanting to leave Arsenal. But in 30 years of doing transfers, you learn a lot about human beings. As a professional, it was perhaps his last contract at the top level and an important contract. We did what we tried to do and went as far as we could. Even Manchester City moved out of it in the end. That tells you we had no chance to give him a contract.”


Sarfraz Ahmed happy after Pakistan fight back against Australia in Abu Dhabi

Updated 12 min 42 sec ago
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Sarfraz Ahmed happy after Pakistan fight back against Australia in Abu Dhabi

  • Pakistan captain scores 96 after criticism having made just 74 runs in previous six Test innings.
  • Australia closed the day at 20 for two, trailing by 262 runs.

ABU DHABI: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said he was happy that he responded to pressure from all sides with a brilliant 96 on Tuesday on the first day of the second Test against Australia.
The 31-year-old added 147 runs for the sixth wicket with opener Fakhar Zaman — who also scored 96 — to lift Pakistan from a precarious 57 for five to 282 all out at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Australia closed the day at 20 for two, trailing by 262 runs with eight wickets in hand.
After his below-par 15-run innings and weak wicketkeeping in the first Test which ended with his team unable to turn a strong position into a victory, Sarfraz faced calls for his sacking as Test captain.
“Yeah the pressure was there, definitely,” said Sarfraz, who had made just 74 runs in the his six previous Test innings.
“A lot of it. You know it’s coming from all corners. Somebody is saying leave Test cricket, somebody is saying leave captaincy, some are saying leave him out of the team.
“When all this happens and you score runs then it’s a bit of relief and then to do it in a situation where you were 57 for five and in a really bad shape...”
Sarfraz said Pakistan had fought back admirably having seen Australia spinner spinner Nathan Lyon had rocked Pakistan in the morning, reaching lunch with figures of four for 12.
“It’s good that we scored 282 and then got two wickets, including that of Usman Khawaja because he can play a long innings, so I think it has become even for both the teams now,” said Sarfraz.
Sarfraz praised Zaman, who is playing his first Test.
“Fakhar played a brilliant knock and I got very good confidence from him because I like that the other batsmen rotate the strike and he did that and played brilliantly in his first match.
“He deserved credit for doing so well.”
The first Test in the two-match series ended in a draw in Dubai last week.