Shakhtar CEO expects Fred to sign for Man United or Man City

Shakhtar Donetsk fully expect star midfielder Fred to sign for either Manchester City or Manchester United next summer, the Ukrainian club's chief executive has said.

City have long been linked to a move for the Brazil international, perhaps as a replacement for the aging Fernandinho.

Reports in January valued Fred at about €50 million (£45m), and Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin told Corriere dello Sport that he believes United are willing to make a rival bid.

"Fred will leave in July," he told the Italian newspaper. "If he does not go to Manchester City, he will go to Manchester United.

"Fred is ready to play in the strongest league [in Europe]. He is not only a very good player but also a very good professional.

"I would like him to have one more year in our team, but he is ready for a stronger league."

Fred said in January that City's attempts to sign him this winter were halted because Shakhtar did not want to sell while still active in the Champions League. They crashed out in the round of 16 on Tuesday, falling on away goals to Roma after a 2-2 aggregate finish.

The 25-year-old also said at the time that he would be happy to play for City as well as United, Chelsea or Arsenal.

Earlier this month, sources told ESPN FC that City would be willing to send striker Olarenwaju Kayode to Shakhtar on loan while trying to land Fred.