Portuguese publication A Bola reported earlier this week that Felipe Anderson is on the verge of returning to West Ham United following his failed loan spell with FC Porto, and that could present David Moyes with the chance to save the Brazilian’s London Stadium career.
Anderson departed for Portugal at the climax of the last international transfer market, aiming to rediscover his form by playing time for a Champions League side, but the move has not benefited either the one-time international or the Liga Nos outfit.
Dragoes boss Sergio Conceicao has called on Anderson to feature in just five fixtures across all competitions for a woeful total of 218 minutes to date, with his last league outing coming in October, after which, his work-rate came into question.
Moyes, likewise, had called on Anderson to make the step up with his performances, after an underwhelming spell last season left the forward outside of the Scot’s starting line-up.
“Both had big reputations [when I arrived] and I think the games that they have played everybody had the chance to see their performances,” Moyes said of Anderson and former teammate Sebastien Haller in September, via quotes by the Evening Standard.
“I’ve got to say, the two of them are great to work with, the two of them are really good lads – I like them a lot. Felipe is a terrific lad, so is Seb. But what I want them to be is terrific players every time they play, and I want them to make a difference. They were bought by the club to make a difference, one to be a major goalscorer and one to be a major assist maker.”
Anderson failed to show that he was a ‘major assist maker’ amid his struggles with Porto and he may now return to east London but not for long, with A Bola adding that Everton are interested in taking the forward on loan as Carlo Ancelotti looks to add depth ahead of the likely departure of AS Roma target Bernard.
The Toffees are not alone in monitoring Anderson’s situation, either, as the Daily Mail have touted Serie A leaders AC Milan as another potential suitor, should the San Siro natives seek to sign options who can strengthen Stefano Pioli’s title-chasing squad.
It is also noted by The Guardian that West Ham will look to secure another loan move for the 27-year-old, as the Irons fear that him not playing games will lead to them struggling to demand a lucrative price if the club look to sell him in the summer, as is expected.
However, Moyes opting to allow Anderson the chance to stay and fight for his future in east London may deliver the Scot an option he currently lacks in his players, with quality depth in terms of wide players thin and far between beyond regular starters Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma.
Last season was far from perfect for Anderson as he offered just 1.0 key balls and 0.6 shots per Premier League appearance, after his impressive debut campaign which returned 1.8 key balls and 1.1 shots a game, per SofaScore.
Yet ,West Ham did not see a decline in his successful dribbles as they actually rose from 2.1 to 2.5, which would be enough for Anderson to rank first among all of Moyes’ current midfield and forward options, with Michail Antonio’s 1.56 a game the current best at the London Stadium.
Anderson would also rank first for key passes, with Bowen’s 0.88 the best at present, whist Andriy Yarmolenko – often Moyes’ go-to from the bench when fit – is ninth with 0.33 and ninth for shots, again with 0.33 a game.
If Anderson does return to the Premier League and stays put at the London Stadium, it might be worth the manager giving him another chance in and around the first team.
If things went well or the winger, he could prove to be the game-changing option Moyes is sometimes lacking, and it could indeed open the door for the £22.5m-rated maestro to save his West Ham career.
His stats from a few years ago were very impressive, if he could recreate them in 2021, he’d certainly provide Moyes with an effective option, he might just need to be given a chance to prove to his manager, and maybe even to himself, that he is still that same player.