Manchester United coach Marcel Bout is said to be the driving force behind the club’s reported pursuit of Lazio winger Felipe Anderson.
According to Calciomercato (h/t Max Miller of Metro), Bout is tasked with running the rule over opposition teams and has recommended they pursue the Brazil international, something which is said to have been “well received” by manager Louis van Gaal.
Anderson burst onto the scene last season with some dazzling showings in Serie A. Here are some of his standout moments from this campaign:
Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t David Wright of the Daily Express) has previously claimed the capital club have set an asking price of £36.7 million for Anderson.
If Bout has indeed made this recommendation, it’s clear he sees similar flaws to most in United’s attacking setup. There are times when Van Gaal’s side are painfully ponderous and one-paced in possession, with little ingenuity on the ball or willingness to make daring runs off it.
Of course, those instructions stem back to the manager, with Van Gaal renowned for adherence to meticulous build-up play. But as the Selecao Brasileira account noted below, Anderson is the kind of player who could operate in positions the Red Devils are currently short:
As far as I know United need a right winger and their CAM isn't convincing either. Felipe Anderson plays both roles. https://t.co/zDmy51UK0a— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) January 9, 2016
Provided the manager was willing to give the attacking section of his team some more freedom, Anderson would be a fine signing.
He’s a player who roams around the pitch, picking the ball up in dangerous positions and driving at the opposition defence. It’s a direct edge that has been lacking massively this term for the Red Devils.
However, BBC Sport’s Simon Stone doesn’t think that the 22-year-old is currently one of the club’s January targets:
Not getting the impression Felipe Anderson is on Man United's radar at present.— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) January 14, 2016
That news will be a blow to some, but Anderson would come with a degree of risk. This campaign he’s not quite lived up to the levels he showcased last season. For the kind of money mentioned, perhaps it’s a gamble best not taking.
Cristiano Ronaldo Talks Major League Soccer
Real Madrid forward and rumoured Manchester United target Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he is tempted by the prospect of a move to Major League Soccer.
Van Gaal revealed earlier in the season that the Red Devils still held an interest in their former player, per BBC Sport. But speaking in an interview with GQ (h/t Reuters and Sky Sports) Ronaldo said the prospect of playing in the United States appeals to him:
What's happening there is great, it's fantastic. Maybe in the future will be a good chance for me to play there. You never know, but it's something interesting.
I consider it, of course, because, as I've said, soccer there has become better and better, so why not? I think that this is maybe going to be possible. I know that many players move there. I think it's becoming better and better.
It's growing, I think it's good. It's good for me and young players that maybe one day we want to move there. So it's good that football—‘soccer’—grows there.
As we can see here courtesy of Squawka Football, Ronaldo has long been one of the most consistent goalscorers in Spain’s top flight:
Most goals in La Liga since 2013/14: Cristiano Ronaldo (94) Lionel Messi (80) Antoine Griezmann (48) pic.twitter.com/idw175FH9X— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 17, 2016
Although there would be plenty of teams willing to sign the Portuguese, for the next few years it looks unlikely. Not only is Ronaldo still capable of swinging games at the very highest level, but Real’s impending transfer ban means that if they were to move him on, they’d be unable to sign a replacement until the summer of 2017.
United fans would love to see Ronaldo back at Old Trafford again, where he remains a massively popular figure. At this stage of his career, though, you suspect the 30-year-old would only leave Real Madrid for a new challenge.