Manchester United Transfer News: Loan Will Help Resurrect Anderson's Career

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2014

READING, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Anderson of Manchester United celebrates scoring with teammate Ashley Young during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Manchester United at Madejski Stadium on December 1, 2012 in Reading, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Somewhere in the hollowed out husk that's whatever is left of Anderson, a good footballer remains.

Manchester United boss David Moyes confirmed the 25-year-old midfielder was leaving Old Trafford this January after failing to earn a regular place in the first team, per the club's Twitter account.

Fiorentina also snapped a photo of Anderson meeting up with club president Mario Cognigni upon his arrival in Florence.

The Brazilian took to Instagram to thank United for his seven seasons at the club.

Many are quick to dismiss the possibility of Anderson ever becoming good again. They look at his perceived weight issues and lack of production and come to the conclusion that his best days are behind him, which weren't all that good to begin with.

And it's not an unfair conclusion to make. Some players never fulfill the promise they show as teenagers, and there's a boatload of evidence that points to the fact that he's simply an average footballer.

However, there are two things to consider here.

First is how successful Fiorentina have been recently with reclamation projects.

UDINE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 24:  Alberto Aquilani of AFC Fiorentina shows his dejection during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Friuli on November 24, 2013 in Udine, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
Dino Panato/Getty Images

La Viola picked up Alberto Aquilani off the scrap heap following his disastrous spell at Liverpool. Loans at Juventus and AC Milan did nothing to help his career, and yet in his first season in Florence, he scores seven goals and looked to be the player the Reds thought they were buying in the summer of 2009.

It's a similar result with Giuseppe Rossi, who was damaged goods when he left Villarreal. Before the 26-year-old went down with an injury, he was looking like a sure bet to make the Italian squad at the 2014 World Cup.

Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

Fiorentina know that signing Anderson is a gamble, but they must have some sort of plan in place to ensure that this isn't a worthless signing.

The other thing to consider is that moving to a new club may enable Anderson to occupy a more natural midfield position. While Vincenzo Montella doesn't often deploy what many would consider a No. 10 in his attack, Anderson could still fill into some sort of a creative role.

Like Lucas Leiva, Anderson was a creative No. 10-type coming out of Brazil, only to be slotted in as a defensive/box-to-box midfielder upon his arrival to England. Unlike Lucas, Anderson has never grown into a more central role, as ESPN FC's Michael Cox writes:

Similarly, Anderson was converted into a box-to-box midfielder and given licence to drive forward from central midfield, but always with strict defensive responsibilities. Although he showed flashes of brilliance, he has rarely possessed the stamina for such a demanding role.

Back in 2009, Brazilian football journalist Tim Vickery wondered how much Anderson was being hampered by playing deeper:

Could it be that in this new role Anderson is forced to sacrifice a bit too much of what he is naturally good at? He is now operating in a zone where giving the ball away can be disastrous. Launching one of those dribbles he unleashed against the Turks is high risk.

Fiorentina play a faster pace than most clubs in Serie A, the league's perception as being slow and defensive doesn't apply much anymore, so there's concern whether Anderson's weight issues will once again be a problem.

While clearly not the most physically fit, he should be OK as long as he's not asked to be a box-to-box midfielder again.

The problem with Anderson at United was that he could play for about 60-70 minutes, but beyond that, he'd be gassed. With a little less running around the pitch, he should be able to handle an entire match.

It's important to remember that Anderson is only 25 years old. He's still young enough to at least turnaround his career somewhat. While he won't become a world-class midfielder overnight, he could thrive in a new role and in new surroundings where he doesn't have his past failures dogging his every moment.