Chelsea have set their sights on Lazio winger Felipe Anderson and reportedly are the forerunners in the race to sign the player in the upcoming January transfer window. The Brazilian winger was an important target for Manchester United last year and was believed to be close to making the switch to Old Trafford.
However, Lazio President Claudio Lotito rejected a £50m bid from the Manchester giants in an effort to keep one of his most prized assets at the club. His and the club’s resolve is set to be tested yet again as the cash-rich Chelsea have earmarked Anderson as one of the players they want to sign as manager Antonio Conte is looking to improve his squad after a mixed start of the season for the Blues.
A product of the famed Santos academy that has produced the likes of Robinho and Neymar in recent years, Anderson featured in over 100 games before his switch to Italy. The Brazilian joined Lazio in June 2013 from Santos, in a deal worth €7.8m. He signed a five-year contract with Lazio worth €800,000 a year.
While Santos received 50% of the transfer sum, the third part owner Doyen Sports were the recipient of the rest of the rumoured transfer fee. However, he took time adapting to life in Italy and it was only in his second season at the club, where he truly excelled, scoring 10 goals and providing 9 assists in 27 games across all competitions.
A technically gifted player who has the pace to burn, Anderson has been a constant threat to the opposition defenders with his runs and can have a devastating impact on the result of the game should he be offered time and space to operate in.
His creativity and ability to unlock a defence with his movement on and off the ball will serve Conte’s side well as they have looked bereft of the mentioned skills time and again since the start of the last season. The industrious player is ambidextrous and is also very good with set pieces and these traits could help him establish himself in the Chelsea line-up.
The side is currently over-reliant on the marauding Diego Costa for goals and it would be a smart move from Conte to ease the pressure on the Spaniard by bringing in a proven goal scorer in Anderson.