According to Ed Aarons of the Guardian, “Felipe Anderson's agent was in England yesterday to meet officials from Manchester United.” It’s also noted that despite these discussions there has been “no official bid made yet” by the Red Devils.
It’s a January transfer that has got a lot of United supporters excited, especially given the one-paced nature of their attacking play this campaign. Here’s a look at what the young winger could potentially offer:
It’s difficult not to draw parallels with the acquisition of Memphis Depay when it comes to this possible deal.
The Dutch winger, like Anderson, has a reputation for wonderful pieces of play, scoring goals and creating chances for his team-mates.
However, while Depay’s been shy of the levels he showcased so consistently for PSV Eindhoven last season, he has found it difficult to flourish in what has been a stodgy attacking setup at Old Trafford.
For a player who is stylistically similar, there would also be some concerns about Anderson’s potential role. Of course, given the freedom, he is the kind of footballer who could spark the Red Devils’ attack with his silky dribbling and willingness to commit opponents.
As we can see here, courtesy of Sport Witness, Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport certainly seem to rate the Lazio man very highly:
Gazzetta dello Sport last year compared Felipe Anderson to Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka, Zidane, Baggio & Cruyff. pic.twitter.com/hL2Ah8rb1x— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) January 1, 2016
But if he was inhibited and encouraged to be a cog in manager Louis van Gaal’s meticulous passing machine, it’s tough to see how Anderson would make much of a difference to this side.
While he’s more rounded than Depay at this point, there are still question marks when it comes to Anderson’s end product, which often doesn’t match his fine approach play.
Spanish football journalist Rafael Hernandez thinks that, given his unreliability in the final third, United should stay well clear:
In my sincere opinion, Felipe Anderson is a massive waste of money and definitely not what Manchester United needs.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 2, 2016
But there is genuine world-class potential in Anderson, if it’s channelled appropriately. His end product will improve with age, as is the case with any young winger, and his decision-making would be refined by the unforgiving nature of the Premier League, too.
Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe thinks this is a deal that will go ahead, and Anderson can add something to United’s wing play:
Should United spend big to land Anderson midseason?
It’s looking increasingly like Anderson will need to leave Lazio if he is going to play at the highest level of European football.
The Biancocelesti flirted with the prospect of Champions League football last term, but their talented side has underwhelmed massively this season. The Brazilian, while not at his best as of late, is certainly one player capable of operating at a higher level.
Despite his stubbornness when it comes to standing by his principles, Van Gaal will surely be aware that the time has come for the Red Devils to be freed of shackles in an attacking sense.
Anderson, should he be given the freedom to do so, could reinvigorate the forward play of this team and prompt some much needed improvement in the second half of the campaign.