Why Manchester United's Anderson Must Leave to Save His Career

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 5, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Oscar of Chelsea tackles Anderson of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on May 5, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It's tough to take if you're a Manchester United fan, but Anderson's continued slump shows absolutely no sign of stopping.

He's a fan favourite despite never living up to his potential, and every time he starts, the home crowd hopes upon hope that the Brazilian breaks out and puts in a scintillating shift.

But the statistics don't lie, and it's getting to the point where it's clear the midfielder has gone stale.

In the six seasons Anderson has played for Manchester United since joining from FC Porto in 2007, he's only completed the full 90 minutes an astonishing 18 times. That trend continued on Sunday, as the midfielder was withdrawn after 70 minutes in favour of Wayne Rooney, and his frustrated, rusty performance summed up his entire career in red.

He was fielded in a flatter midfield position with Tom Cleverley, and while he showed all the right intentions, movements and motions, his touch was just off the pace.

The meddling with his position, admittedly, has hardly helped him. He came to United as a quality, young No. 10, excelling in the playmaker position early in his career.

In 2005, he won the Golden Ball (most valuable player award) whilst turning out for Brazil in the U-17 World Championships. Earlier that year he helped his country win the South American U-17 Championships, while he also picked up an Olympic bronze medal in 2007.

He set his stall out as a playmaker in the mould of Kaka, perhaps the next in a long line of those as far as Brazil were concerned.

So when he arrived at Old Trafford, Brazilian football aficionados were stunned to see him converted into a box-to-box midfielder.

He's shown a penchant for stretching his legs and likes to play the long, raking pass when it's on. But injuries disrupted the conversion, and now he appears stuck between two different roles with absolutely no way out.

The only way to rediscover form in one of those positions is to leave Manchester United now, and although the Red Devils would like nothing more than to see him succeed for them, it's looking very, very unlikely.

Every season we say "this will be Anderson's year," but it never quite pans out for him. United are reported to be in the market for a new central midfielder or two considering the age of Paul Scholes and the continued illness of Darren Fletcher.

But regardless of whether Victor Wanyama or Kevin Strootman are recruited—or a different name is plucked for the central midfield position for that matter—Anderson needs to leave for his own sake.

He needs to find a team that will play him as a No. 10 and make him their main man. A regular place in a team and an arm 'round the shoulder could see the Brazilian rescue his own career and become the world-beater he looked to be becoming six years ago.