While Neymar grabs all the plaudits in Brazil, a one-time team-mate of his is now turning heads at Lazio. In January 2013, Lazio made a move for the Santos starlet, but after Santos delayed the sending of paperwork, it fell through – though it did finally go through in June the same year in a £5m deal. Since then, he has not looked back, and after many an impressive performance, he is now seen as the hottest property in Europe, and set to fire Lazio back to the Champions League.
1 goal in 20 games was the summary of the 13/14 season – he really struggled to get to grips and needed to bulk up a bit. It was the typical “adaptation period” foreign stars need to settle in to life in a different country. During the transfer, only 50% of the player was owned by Santos, and according to Sporting Director Igli Tare, the 3rd party in question made the transfer “The most shocking negotiations in history”. His 2nd season is going better – with 10 goals in 26 games at this point in time.
Anderson is now attracting interest from England and Spain, with Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Real Madrid all sniffing around with scouts at most games. According to statisticians, he is the best dribbler in the league, as well as the fastest player. It’s only the last few months has been the watershed period – since his return from injury Lazio have won 6 in a row, springing them into the top 4 and 4 clear of their nearest rival. In his last 12 games, Anderson has scored or assisted in 16 goals. In his last 5 games, he has scored 5 goals and assisted another 5.
At just 21, he has not made the senior Brazil squad yet, but could fill the problematic left wing position, where they do not seem to have many players to cover, with Neymar often dropping there rather than up front where Brazil are really short in quality. He has only made 2 under 21’s appearances, scoring one – but at this rate he will be in the main squad before the summer. He cannot be ignored!
He has given great credit to Neymar, who said he should join Lazio, and often refers to him (Anderson) as “my little brother”. Lazio fans love the guy – they have started referring to him as “FA7” in relation to Ronaldo’s “CR7”. At this point today, he has scored 11 in 46 games so far, with a plethora of assists. It’s got to the point where Lazio released a statement saying they were not a 1 man team, and Antonio Candreva more than proved that with a terrific free kick on the weekend.
So – all in all, a terrific prospect that could well be the next Brazilian superstar. He could feature in the Copa America this summer, and in Russia 2018, by which point I’m fully expecting him to be at Barca, Real Madrid or somewhere like Man Utd, who are on the up and looking like they could re-enter the Champions League after a season absent.
Star in the making..mark my words!