Manchester City may have missed out on Alexis Sanchez to arch-rivals United, but they are being backed to win the battle for Fred.
The January window was dominated by a transfer tussle between two Premier League neighbours and their efforts to secure the signature of a much sought-after talent at Arsenal.
That feud may be rekindled in the summer market, with another scrap expected to ensue for an in-demand midfielder at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho look set to lock horns once again in that particular pursuit, with the former this time being tipped to emerge victorious and add another Samba star alongside Fernandinho in the Etihad Stadium engine room.
Former Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu, who is now in charge of the Turkish national side, told reporters on the Fred fight: “Shakhtar Donetsk’s best player is Fred in the centre of midfield.
“He was a bit anarchic on the left. I moved him in front of the defence.
“He will go to City like Fernandinho before him.”
Fred has contributed 12 goals to the Shakhtar cause in 142 appearances, having been acquired from Internacional in 2013.
He revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport in January that he is now waiting on a call from City, with there a desire on his part to test himself in England.
“A friend gave me the news saying that City and Guardiola were interested in me. I’m happy to be so well known in Europe.”
Fred added on a conversation held with Guardiola following a Champions League meeting with the Blues in December: “At the exit of the locker room, he stopped me and said we had a good game, as they are a very difficult team to beat.
“But he did not ask me to play with him. However, I confess, I wait impatiently for his call to arrive now.
“I think I would grow a lot with him, England is the best league in the world, and I’ve always dreamed of playing there.”