Reports by TEAMtalk earlier in the week claimed that Everton are considering a half-season loan deal for Felipe Anderson in the January transfer window, but Carlo Ancelotti must place his trust in Everton product Anthony Gordon over the West Ham United forward.
Anderson is understood to be on the verge of returning to the London Stadium after a troubled spell in Portugal, having made just five appearances across all competitions for FC Porto after joining Sergio Conceicao’s side on loan at the end of the last transfer window.
The one-time Brazil international had hoped to get his career back on track with a move to the Liga NOS giants after falling out of favour at West Ham, but that clearly has not been the case and he now awaits an unnerving January and he is facing an uncertain future in east London.
David Moyes is thought to have little interest in offering Anderson a second chance with the Irons this season and instead, he will look to send the 27-year-old out on loan once again, which could appeal to Everton as the Blues eye a potential replacement for Bernard.
Ancelotti likely remembers Anderson well from the attacker’s time in Italy with SS Lazio, where he offered 34 goals and 39 assists in 177 games, and he will need additional width should Bernard leave, but a move to Everton has been questioned by former Blues goalkeeper Nigel Martyn.
“I think we definitely missed Richarlison when he was injured. That was the one that really worried me,” Martyn told HITC. “So, if there’s somebody of his ilk around, that would be good – but they don’t come cheap.
“Anderson – at West Ham – the worry is he hasn’t been playing much at Porto. If he’s not played at West Ham, they’ve obviously gone: ‘Oh god, he’s not what we were expecting’. Then he’s not been played at the club he’s going to, so he’s possibly not at the level Everton want.”
Anderson has seriously struggled to force his way into Conceicao’s plans at Porto this season, yet during his efforts at the London Stadium last term, he did offer brief glimpses of why West Ham spent a then-club record £36m to sign him in 2018.
The 27-year-old provided 0.6 shots and 1.0 key balls a game in the Premier League over 2019/20, while making 2.5 successful dribbles and offering 0.4 accurate crosses, per SofaScore.
Those numbers would have seen the Brazilian rank 10th for shots and third for key passes at Goodison Park last season, or ninth and fourth among Ancelotti’s current players. Those stats are comparable with Bernard, who has taken 0.7 shots and created 1 chance to score a game over his mere 273 minutes of top-flight action thus far this season.
So, instead of taking on another Premier League side’s deadweight for the remainder of the campaign, Ancelotti ought to look in his squad and place his trust in Gordon to play in wide positions at a far more regular rate than he has to date.
Ancelotti was full of praise for Gordon when the 19-year-old broke into his senior fold last term, lauding the Toffees product for the way he went about his business.
“How he is playing gives me a lot of confidence and trust in him,” Ancelotti told Everton’s official website last July. “He is a player with personality. You can find a lot of players with quality, but you have to show strong personality.
“In football, you need players with personality and character. Players who are not afraid to make decisions. Anthony is one of these. He is ready to be with us and part of what we are doing.”
However, Ancelotti has only fielded the Liverpool-born prospect for 87 minutes in the Premier League this season, with Gordon starting just one of his meagre three outings.
Now, moving for Anderson would place yet another hurdle in Gordon’s path, but the Italian tactician should be seeing the potential exit of one of his lesser-favoured options in Bernard as his chance to truly promote the teenager, and he should back him to make the step-up to become an established top-flight player.
Anderson would likely struggle to be a game-changing option at Goodison Park anyway, given how his numbers at West Ham were comparable with his compatriot Bernard, a player who may be deemed surplus to requirement, plus the total lack of confidence shown in him by Porto is hardly a ringing endorsement.
So, more than ever before, now should be the time Gordon is backed, or he should be banging on Ancelotti’s door demanding answers once more.
AND in other news, Everton must refrain from making a knee-jerk decision to sign a £9m-rated target.