According to Metro's Jamie Sanderson, Lotito was "overheard" saying, "Felipe Anderson will move to Manchester United next season for €60 million," with Italian outlet Il Messaggero (h/t Football Italia) reporting as much on Monday.
Would Anderson be a good signing for United?
Further, he reportedly told the director of Serie B side Crotone—whose match he attended at the weekend—he "bought Anderson for just €8 million but sold him for €60 million."
However, the club have since released a statement denying the report. Per Lazio's official website (h/t Football Italia), it reads: “In reference to the statements attributed to President Claudio Lotito regarding the alleged sale of the player Felipe Anderson, SS Lazio notes that these reports are devoid of any foundation."
BT Sport's James Horncastle provided a screenshot of the statement:
As Tom Collomosse of the London Evening Standard reported in March last year, Anderson has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford and was also scouted by Chelsea last season on behalf of former manager Jose Mourinho—who believes he has a "gentleman's agreement" to take over from Louis van Gaal as United manager, according to Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News.
Anderson drew plenty of plaudits last season as he scored 11 goals and assisted 10 for Lazio in all competitions. So far in this campaign, he hasn't quite matched that level of production, but he could easily replicate last year's tallies if he can improve on his current haul of seven goals and four assists.
Here are some of the youngster's highlights:
Football journalist Rafael Hernandez was quick to note the winger's move to the Red Devils is yet to be officially confirmed, though:
Lotito hasn’t gone on record to say the player has signed with Manchester United yet, no actual confirmation.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) February 22, 2016
Hernandez does not believe United should make a move for the 22-year-old, citing his inconsistency as a particular problem:
Felipe Anderson is inconsistent and follows the standard Brazilian player nowadays. holds potential but likely to go to waste.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 2, 2016
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
According to Squawka, the skilful dribbler has completed 43 take-ons this season, though his creation of just 16 chances in 24 Serie A appearances should be something of a concern, as one of his primary roles at United would be to make things happen in the final third.
The Brazilian undoubtedly possesses the kind of trickery and flair that could restore excitement to Old Trafford—something United fans have enjoyed little of under Van Gaal this season—and he has significant potential, which could see him become a real force in European football if it's harnessed properly.
However, at the quoted price, he would also represent a serious gamble—one the Red Devils could ill afford not to pay off as they seek to close the gap on their rivals—so if, in fact, they have not yet agreed terms with Lazio, they should approach any deal for Anderson with caution.