However, according to the Manchester Evening News, Pep Guardiola is determined to land the 24-year-old who he sees as the long term replacement for Fernandinho.
The downside of a potential Fred deal, however, is that United will not be able to use outcast Mkhitaryan in bid to reduce the asking price for Fred, which is likely to go as high as £40 million should the Russian outfit decide to leverage the two Manchester clubs' interest in their player.
And there is also the problem of some of the midfielders being out of contract at the end of the season.
Fred, 24, is also supposedly a target for Manchester United, which is usually the case these days.
The youngster is valued at around £35m, with United and Chelsea both tracking his development with a view to a move at the start of the summer.
Jose Mourinho is desperate to add to his squad for the last part of the season as United look to try and catch league leaders Manchester City.
If the player has the same effect that Fernandinho has on the Man City side, he would certainly be worth the money.
The last word comes from Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who believes City's form means what would typically be classed as a good campaign, is no longer enough. "In a way, this is a bit frustrating for the others, but we just have to keep going".
January transfer speculation is the focus of Saturday's Media Watch as we browse the back pages for the latest Manchester City headlines.
The Leicester Mercury have rattled off a whole heap of reasons why Mourinho will explore other options.
City are not looking to sign the defensive midfielder in January, but are looking to secure a deal in time for him to move in the summer transfer window. Chelsea are interested in appointing either Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri or Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri to replace Conte...
- Robin van Persie is close to securing a return to Feyenoord, according to The Sun. Real Madrid were ready to pay Lionel Messi's 250m euro (£221.7m) buyout clause in 2013... Sunderland want to sign Burnley's 34-year-old Republic of Ireland striker Jon Walters on loan until the end of the season.