Six-and-a-half years is a lifetime, in football.
In the summer of 2007, United splashed out £35 million on Anderson and Nani, to add to their aggressive capture of Bayern Munich's Owen Hargreaves (h/t Dominic Fifield of The Guardian.)
In his article, Fifield lauded Anderson as a "winger" and noted that he had won the Player Of The Tournament Award at the FIFA U-17 World Championship, in 2005.
He described Anderson and Nani as "two of the most coveted rising talents in Portugal" and highlighted how United have moved fast for the pair, after they "lost out to Tottenham Hotspur for the £10m Wales international Gareth Bale."
I think it is safe to say which owners did the better business there.
Anderson has been a huge disappointment during his time in Manchester, going from international bright young thing to substitute bench dead weight.
However, it will always be a point of debate as to why Sir Alex Ferguson bought a player with such attacking potential, as pre-Man Utd footage of the player proves, and spent six seasons coaching him into a central midfield role, which ultimately destroyed his confidence and opportunities.
This is as much Ferguson's failing as it is the player's fault. His talent has been wasted.
The England international has made a huge impression since the Saints were promoted back into the Premier League, but is he really the player United need?
25-year-old Lallana is without doubt an industrious footballer, who has developed into a good creative midfielder that contributes to the goal tally.
However, what would David Moyes do with him? Would United try and make him become something that he simply is not?
The answer lies with Tom Cleverley.
The similarities between Cleverley and Lallana are clear and present. Both are diminutive and have attacking prowess, but one has been coached into a deep-lying midfielder role whose instincts have been strangled, and the other has been allowed to flourish into what his potential determined.
You cannot help but feel that Lallana could fall into the same dilemma that faced both Anderson and Cleverley in their pursuits of a career in Man Utd's engine room.
Even with United's poor midfield, I think Lallana would struggle hugely. Marouane Fellaini, a player who only last season was statically the 12th best player in Europe (h/t The Mirror,) has struggled to settle into his new, opulent surroundings.
Why would Lallana fair any better?
The pressure to perform at a club like United is immense. One average individual performance is met with a million voices, castigating the player that fails. There is no understanding or time to develop. Cleverley and Anderson have both been subjected to this, and neither has advanced as a result.
United do need a midfielder, but they do not need Lallana.
In the time that it would take for him to settle down and provide the performance levels required, David Moyes might already be out of a job.
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