The Brazilian midfielder has struggled to avoid injury in his 5 years at the club, and whilst he usually manages to get a decent number of games in despite this, Sir Alex declaration that his season is over due to a hamstring injury means he won’t even get 20 games under his belt this term as he sits on 16 appearances.
Last appearing in a United shirt at the start of March as United crashed 3-2 at Athletic Bilbao, this is a massive disappointment given the brilliant start he had to the season beside Tom Cleverley in midfield, but such has been the case throughout his career.
Anderson is extremely frustrating to follow purely for the fact that you know how well he could do without all of these things inhibiting him, but injuries as well as his own failings seem to hold him back from breaking onto that next level. Now injuries can’t be blamed, they can happen to anybody but things like weight gain and the stories of alcohol abuse and their outcomes display a lack of self control.
With United crying out for a ‘midfield saviour’, I don’t see why a player of his talents couldn’t go some way to alleviate the problem. Of course, I say some way as I am well aware that our ‘problem’ extends beyond what Anderson can do, but at the same time we have seen what a fit, fully firing Anderson brings to the table and I’m sure there are few people that wouldn’t want that in the team.
When discussing Anderson you hear the same refrain, “He is young and developing, give him time.” And I agree to an extent, in this day and age there is a tendency to rush things, if a player hasn’t broken into the first team at the age of 18 then people are ready to question their ability (Tom Cleverley says otherwise). And the same can be said for Anderson, for the money we spent people expected to see a ready made world class central midfielder but that was unlikely to be the case. And whilst he has pushed towards being so showing glimpses he hasn’t quite reached a consistant standard where people are convinced he will be.
So at what point do we draw a line and say, ‘this isn’t working out as expected’ and cut our losses? Anderson is talented, was brought in for big money and is popular with team mates as well as fans so you can see the appeal in keeping him but this is a ruthless game with no space for sentiment, so if injuries mean we won’t see the best of him should we look at moving him on?
He is already being touted for a move back to Portugal, to Benfica rather than Porto who he joined us from, some reports say he will be used as a makeweight in a potential move for 24 year old Argentine Gaitan, whilst some reports also add Axel Witsel’s name to the deal.
Yesterday David Gill stated there would be movement at Old Trafford this summer, with players coming in and going out. Whilst no names have been mentioned I wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson was amongst those clearing their lockers, something quite sad given the fact that he hasn’t had a 100% say in the matter but ultimately necessary if he isn’t going to achieve his potential.