Felipe Anderson. You know the name, but do you know the player?
Is it even a valid transfer window without Felipe Anderson being linked to at least one Premier League club? The latest culprit is West Ham, and under new boss Manuel Pellegrini, there has been a clear shift in mindset amongst the West Ham hierarchy. They want success, and they want it soon. Having already broken their record transfer fee once this window with the acquisition of Issa Diop from Toulouse, for £22 million, West Ham look to smash it again, with reported figures of £40 million being touted.
Anderson came through the well-respected academy of Santos. From Pepe to Coutinho, Neymar to Robinho, and how could you forget, Pelé. There is something in the air within Santos, São Paulo region. The fundamental identity attached to the club, and by association the academy, is a fluid and lightning-fast attacking brand of football. This has come from the high representation of home-grown youngsters in the first team hungry to impress the local crowds.
Making his debut in 2010/11 campaign, Felipe went on to score the first goal of his footballing career, with a superb long-range strike against Noroeste. A glimpse into what the 5-foot-10 winger had in his locker. On 25 June 2013, Lazio agreed a €7.8 million fee with Santos, and Anderson signed a five-year deal worth €800,000 a year.
Felipe Anderson Pereira Gomes, at 25, is entering his prime years. He is able to operate in all 3 slots behind the main striker, and also, if needs be, as a Centre Forward or false nine. Even though Anderson has always held the potential to be a world beater, he has only ever reached double figures in goals for Lazio once. Once. You heard that right West Ham fans. This is likely to be a product of injuries when he was younger coming back to hurt him, or just not being in the right system. It is clear that these stats only tell one side on the story to this talented Brazilian.
Just watching ten minutes of his tape will show you how the winger goes about his game. A sublime touch the lad possesses, almost as if the ball is on a string and he is just toying around with the defenders. He has the directness and nous to get past his man 9 times out of 10. Show him to the outside and his pure speed will tear you to shreds. Show him inside, well then you are asking for trouble, as he will unleash precision shots that are destined for the goal. Sometimes the lad may make the wrong decision, but under the wing of Manuel Pellegrini, he could finally fulfill his obvious potential and iron out the flaws to his game.
Pellegrini has shown a knack for producing the best out of some of the finest attackers in the world. At Villarreal, both Juan Roman Riquelme and Diego Forlan achieved notable seasons under his tutorship, and during his time at Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain scored 53 league goals between them, making them the highest scoring La Liga duo ever at the time.
With Marko Arnautović on the opposite wing and Manuel Lanzini in behind Chicharito, West Ham’s attack could the be next Fab Four that terrorizes defences during this upcoming season. If you are going to take anything from this article West Ham fans: Felipe Anderson will frustrate you at points next season, but as he settles into the league, get ready to be wowed and left wanting more with this lad, as he encompasses what a pure winger is. Fast, direct and fearless.