The clear-out that many Manchester United supporters were calling for seems to have started in earnest, as Brazilian midfielder Anderson is set to join Fiorentina on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
The former Porto man is the first victim as David Moyes looks to refine and reshape his squad ahead of the season run-in, and his move away from Old Trafford serves as a warning to other flops who have not done the business this season.
Per the club's official website manutd.com, Moyes didn't make it clear as to whether Anderson had a future at the club or not:
He is going out on loan to Fiorentina.
We've not been able to get him as many games as he'd hoped, or we hoped we might get him, so we feel it's a good opportunity for him.
He's going to a good club in a good league so, hopefully, it will benefit him.
Focusing on the Brazilian, he has failed to reach the heights so many expected of him when he made a big-money move from FC Porto in 2007. Brought in as a burgeoning, dynamic player capable of playing anywhere across midfield, he was one of the most highly coveted and obviously talented young players in European football. It seemed at the time that United had pulled off a major coup.
But despite showing the odd glimpse of quality in his six-and-a-half years at the club, he has never been able to nail down a spot in the Manchester United first team; this despite an obvious dearth of both quality and numbers in the central midfield position.
And whilst he has only been farmed out on loan, you suspect the Brazilian has a very slim chance of a future with the Old Trafford club. Especially with David Moyes likely to strengthen significantly in his second summer at the club.
Anderson posted a "goodbye" letter on his Instagram account which would certainly suggest he has played his final game in United red:
With Anderson gone, there will be a few other players within the United ranks casting nervous glances toward the manager. That’s because aside from a handful of players—most notably Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Adnan Januzaj—there aren’t many within this group whom Moyes will have been wholly impressed with.
The former Everton boss has tinkered with his side quite frequently so far this campaign, and he will have been looking for someone to come into the side, make an impression on him and really grasp an opportunity. This is especially true with Moyes placing a significant amount of trust in the current crop of players, a fact compounded by his lack of transfer dealings during his first summer in charge.
But aside from the emergence of Januzaj, there’s a lingering staleness about this group of players. Granted, they are the same squad who romped to the Premier League title last season, but they are lacking a fire and an urgency about their play. Poor results have naturally followed.
So it’s no surprise that Moyes—regardless of whether he strengthens in this window or not—is looking to clear out the deadwood ASAP. So players like Nani—who has flattered to deceive despite signing a lucrative five-year deal in the summer—and Ashley Young—who has caused a bigger stir with his simulation than on-pitch showings this season—should be concerned that they might be next out of the Old Trafford door.
Perhaps it will give these players a shot in the arm and a little bit of impetus to breathe life back into their careers at the club? It will certainly offer Moyes another insight into the character of this squad, and which players are showing a degree of that character as he looks to build a team in his image.
But the chances are Anderson will be the first of many players on their way out of the club. Some have attributed a large portion of the blame for United’s current plight to Moyes’ predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson. Yes, he left him with a title-winning team, but it’s a creaking squad that were massively reliant on a certain Dutch striker. It's a squad riddled with ageing players and others coming to the end of their contracts.
Moyes has a rebuilding job on his hands, and it's time for him to get ruthless with this squad in a manner akin to his predecessor. This deal could prove to be the first in Moyes shaping his Manchester United.