A statistic has emerged which strongly suggests that Manchester United were entirely justified in the big-money signing of Fred.
Brazilian midfielder Fred arrived at United in 2018 with huge expectations on his shoulders following his £52m switch.
However, he failed to deliver in his first season at Old Trafford, with many branding him a huge flop, and he was dropped for extended spells.
The 27-year-old is now an important part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side though, after showing marked improvement last term.
In fact, it appears that Fred actually made a vital contribution for United last season, according to one stat.
According to one graph on Reddit, Fred was actually top of the most intense pressers in the defensive third in Europe during the 2019/20 season.
He is also up there when it comes to the middle third intensity, showing his importance for United.
Solskjaer highly praised his performance in the 5-0 win against RB Leipzig in the Champions League two weeks ago.
“I’m sure Fred covered every single blade of grass on that pitch. It’s unbelievable how that boy just recovers for the next one,” Solskjaer.
Many were expecting Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek to be Solskjaer’s preferred midfield pairing.
But it looks like Fred and Scott McTominay are his first choice after he praised their performance in the 3-1 win over Everton.
Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top.
And you can keep track of their journey by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have missed out on Jadon Sancho in the summer, but he still made some big moves in the transfer market with Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani all arriving.
But their start to the season has been a mixed bag, with a home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 thrashing by Spurs at one end of the scale, and a tremendous 2-1 win over PSG in Paris at the other.
The question now is whether they can find the right balance?
From the latest news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.
Signing up is simple. Put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
“Scott and Fred have done brilliant together,” Solskjaer said at full-time. “They’re a great partnership.
“Of course, they didn’t start during the week. Scott played 45 minutes in Turkey but you can see they have fresh legs.
“With Bruno [Fernandes]’s goals, Scott and Fred with that energy and in that engine room are always key for us so our creative players can go on, create chances, show their magic. They’re so disciplined and very pleased with the two of them.”