Felipe Anderson has been in unstoppable form over the past few months, and was as dominant as ever against Hellas Verona on Sunday.
Undaunted by the prospect of being closely watched by an observer from one of Europe’s biggest clubs, a rampant Felipe Anderson put Hellas Verona to the sword at the weekend.
Louis van Gaal is reportedly highly intrigued by the 21-year-old starlet, who has shot from promising prospect to bona fide star in Serie A with alarming rapidity.
Lawlor, said to be seeing Anderson live for the first time after other representatives took in his performance against Fiorentina earlier this month, is alleged to have been impressed.
And well he should be – the Brazilian youngster was at full steam ahead in Lazio’s 2-0 victory, at the heart of the Biancocelesti’s attacking brilliance in an overwhelming effort.
It took less than five minutes for Anderson to hit the back of the net for the ninth time this term, but in doing so, the versatile attacker accomplished a career first.
Drifting into the heart of the penalty area, Anderson produced an impressive leap to meet Dusan Basta’s cross and score his maiden headed goal in Serie A – powerfully, at that.
Anderson only served to underline his top-level athleticism with the strike. Indeed, it’s his physical prowess mixed with technical excellence that gives him such presence on the pitch.
Almost as if in an effort to immediately confirm the claim, Anderson had proven why former Lazio midfielder Stefano Fiore labeled him a hybrid of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar last week.
Anderson wasn’t done, if even he wouldn’t get on the scoresheet again. Once more he tested Francesco Benussi in goal, firing wide of the mark on two other occasions, per WhoScored.
Where the Brazilian wrought havoc for the rest of the encounter was outside of the box, giving Ivan Martic and Artur Ionita all they could handle on Hellas’ right side.
Producing four successful dribbles, Anderson played creator. Four times he sprung team-mates free to shoot, each time with an intelligent cut-back or lateral ball.
Alas, Lazio were unable to capitalise by knocking home any of the chances Anderson created. But his ideas and their effect on raising Lazio’s game were plain to see.
The Aquile’s superiority going forward kept Verona largely pinned back. The Scaglieri were hardly able to venture into the attacking third, requiring numbers in defence just to hold their assailants at bay.
While Anderson was key in this regard by providing a constant threat down the left with the ball at his feet, his work when possession was turned over was equally impressive.
Pressing the opposition, the 21-year-old won three tackles and made three interceptions – Verona simply had no answer for his defensive pressure.
Two of Anderson’s tackles were won high up the pitch, sparking the counter, while all three of his interceptions came on Lazio’s left, inside his own half.
Not only was he committed off the ball, but did the job with efficiency. This willingness and ability to participate in both phases of the game is an attractive quality.
From Manchester United’s perspective, it is certainly a welcome sight. Hard-working in all areas and robust physically, Anderson looks to have the traits to succeed in the Premier League.
Van Gaal should be pleased to learn from Lawlor that there is an all-around edge to Anderson’s game, possessing qualities that suit him to English football.
Whether that will strengthen United’s resolve to move immediately for him, however, remains to be seen.
Anderson only just inked a new contract with Lazio until 2020 that increases the capital club’s leverage and gives the Brazlian an incentive to remain loyal for the time being.
That being said, United – specifically Lawlor – saw just about everything they could with to see from Anderson on Sunday, and it’s almost scary to remember that Anderson still has a long way to go in his development.