Manchester City have become the latest Premier League giant to declare an interest in Brazilian midfielder Felipe Anderson, though they may face a fight to snap him up after his agent claimed that he wants to stay at Lazio, the Daily Mirror reports.
The 21-year-old had a difficult start to his career in Italy, with the Guardian reporting that the language barrier meant he only knew how to order a spaghetti carbonara in a restaurant during his first few months – prompting considerable weight gain – but his form this season has been brilliant, particularly since December.
Anderson has had a season of two halves, with no goals or assists in his first eleven Serie A appearances, but nine goals and six assists in the twelve since. Few players in Europe are able to match that kind of productivity, but his rise has been about more than mere statistics.
The Brazilian is excellent technically, seemingly able to beat a man at will, and his powerful shot and accurate finishing make him a danger anywhere close to the goal. A versatile player capable of fine performances on left and right flanks, it’s not hard to see why Anderson’s in such high demand across Europe.
However, he penned a new deal to stay with the Rome giants until 2020, and despite interest from Manchester City, Anderson’s agent, Stefano Castagna, has insisted the midfielder is happy in the Italian capital.
“The rapport with the club has always been excellent and in this case our interests coincided with those of the director,” Castagna is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
“It was not difficult to reach an agreement for a renewal. The president and his staff deserve praise and we are very happy with the faith shown in us.
“It’s a good sign that Manchester City are coming to see him, as that means he is doing very well. He has just signed a new deal and is very happy in Rome.
“I see no particular problem in keeping him, even without Champions League qualification. Playing in that tournament would be ideal, but the Europa League is good too.”