Replacing Anderson with Adam Lallana Would Be Wrong for Manchester United

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2014

England's Adam Lallana, left, control the ball away from Germany's Lars Bender during the international friendly soccer match between England and Germany, at Wembley Stadium in London, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Six-and-a-half years is a lifetime, in football.

For it was that amount of time ago that Manchester United made a statement of intent, that culminated with the team winning the Champions League in Moscow, against Chelsea.

In the summer of 2007, United splashed out £35 million on Anderson and Nani, to add to their aggressive capture of Bayern Munich's Owen Hargreaves (h/t Dominic Fifield of The Guardian.)

In his article, Fifield lauded Anderson as a "winger" and noted that he had won the Player Of The Tournament Award at the FIFA U-17 World Championship, in 2005.

He described Anderson and Nani as "two of the most coveted rising talents in Portugal" and highlighted how United have moved fast for the pair, after they "lost out to Tottenham Hotspur for the £10m Wales international Gareth Bale."

I think it is safe to say which owners did the better business there.

With reports of Nani leaving United surfacing, per John Cross of The Mirror, Anderson is simultaneously on his way out of the club, on loan to Fiorentina (h/t Mail Online.)

Anderson has been a huge disappointment during his time in Manchester, going from international bright young thing to substitute bench dead weight. 

However, it will always be a point of debate as to why Sir Alex Ferguson bought a player with such attacking potential, as pre-Man Utd footage of the player proves, and spent six seasons coaching him into a central midfield role, which ultimately destroyed his confidence and opportunities. 

This is as much Ferguson's failing as it is the player's fault. His talent has been wasted. 

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  Adam Lallana of Southampton celebrates as he scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Hull City at St Mary's Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (Photo
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jack Wilson of The Daily Star reports that United are now looking towards Southampton's captain Adam Lallana as a solution to their calamitous midfield.

The England international has made a huge impression since the Saints were promoted back into the Premier League, but is he really the player United need?

25-year-old Lallana is without doubt an industrious footballer, who has developed into a good creative midfielder that contributes to the goal tally.

However, what would David Moyes do with him? Would United try and make him become something that he simply is not?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Tom Cleverley of Manchester United scores the opening goal past Jussi Jaaskelainen of West Ham United during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round match between West Ham United and Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground on J
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The answer lies with Tom Cleverley.

The similarities between Cleverley and Lallana are clear and present. Both are diminutive and have attacking prowess, but one has been coached into a deep-lying midfielder role whose instincts have been strangled, and the other has been allowed to flourish into what his potential determined.

You cannot help but feel that Lallana could fall into the same dilemma that faced both Anderson and Cleverley in their pursuits of a career in Man Utd's engine room.

Even with United's poor midfield, I think Lallana would struggle hugely. Marouane Fellaini, a player who only last season was statically the 12th best player in Europe (h/t The Mirror,) has struggled to settle into his new, opulent surroundings. 

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 05:  Chori Castro of Real Sociedad duels for the ball with Marouanne Fellaini of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on No
David Ramos/Getty Images

Why would Lallana fair any better?

The pressure to perform at a club like United is immense. One average individual performance is met with a million voices, castigating the player that fails. There is no understanding or time to develop. Cleverley and Anderson have both been subjected to this, and neither has advanced as a result. 

United do need a midfielder, but they do not need Lallana.

In the time that it would take for him to settle down and provide the performance levels required, David Moyes might already be out of a job.