As reports continue that Anderson is on his way out of Old Trafford, where will he go if a move back to Porto is not an option?
On Thursday 31 May 2007, Manchester United fans woke up to the news that their club had pulled off something of a transfer coup.
In a time when most footballers’ moves are preceded by months of rumour and speculation, Anderson and Nani arrived from FC Porto and Sporting Lisbon respectively seemingly in the dead of night; their joint £35million move agreed when David Gill flew to Portugal and finalised contracts before their rivals had a chance to swoop.
And they would have…because at the time the players were regarded as two of the hottest properties in Portuguese football.
The £35million reported included substantial add-ons, with an upfront fee closer to £15million more readily accepted as the initial outlay. But one thing was clear: United had bagged a pair of bright young talents to add to a summer spending spree that also included the £17million arrival of Owen Hargreaves.
What happened next does not need repeating, except to say that neither player has managed to live up to the considerable hype that followed their arrival.
Nani suggested he was ready to take on the mantle of the departed Cristiano Ronaldo, but his outstanding form of 2010 was all too brief. And since then he has reverted too commonly to the no-trick pony with a bemusingly long-term contract freshly signed.
But Anderson has no such contract, and while his current deal has 18 months still to run, reports claim David Moyes is ready to part with the midfielder.
The most recent stories claimed he could be set for a January loan move to former club Porto, but the Portuguese champions have since claimed his wages would be a substantial stumbling block.
Despite reports in the Express yesterday that Moyes would attempt to use Anderson as a makeweight in a deal to bring Eliaquim Mangala to Old Trafford, the Daily Mail has picked up on previous reports in Portugal that Porto would be unwilling and unable to get close to the player’s current £3,120,000-a-year wages.
A Porto source is reported to have said, “The absolute maximum he could expect here is €2million a year. It is difficult to see how they could find any common ground.”
Even if his former club were willing to offer him the reported amount, that would see a drop of £1.4million a year, a loss few players would willingly accept, regardless of how little he may have done to deserve it in recent seasons.
So what next for the player signed with the best intentions but one who has surged only sporadically due to a combination of injury and poor form?
One thing is for sure, and that is his time at United is coming to a close. But I can see him moving back to Portugal, or playing in his homeland, and fulfilling at least some of the potential he showed in his youth.
Leaving United fans to wonder why it did not happen at Old Trafford, despite his demeanour making him a fan favourite for many.
image: © Gordon Flood