‘Felipe has talent but West Ham were right to cut their losses’

Like Haller, Anderson was a square peg in a round hole and joins the expensive transfer mistake list

There are three certainties in life; West Ham being linked with every striker in the world each year, West Ham losing a ridiculous amount of money on record transfers, and death.

Felipe Anderson is the latest player to have arrived in east London as a record-transfer before being sold on for a huge loss, having made very minimal impact on the team during his time. 

The Brazilian arrived from Lazio for £35m in the summer of 2018 and at the time, his capture was viewed by neutrals as something of a coup. It was an exciting time to be a West Ham fan, as well. 

Manuel Pellegrini had been appointed as the club’s new manager, he brought his mate Mario Hussilos in as Director of Football and David Sullivan had given them both over £100m to overhaul the squad. 

Anderson was the marquee signing during that summer’s transfer activity and while it took him some time to get going – in fairness, it took the entire team some time to get going, having lost the opening four games of the 2018/19 season – the midfielder began to show why the club had paid such a large fee for him relatively quickly.

His flair and pace was evident from the off and he nabbed his first goal via a glorious back heel in a 3-1 home victory over Man United. Sixty-thousand fans were dancing to a samba beat in Stratford after that went in. We were all in the mood for it that day, weren’t we?

Anderson ended his debut season in east London with 10 goals and five assists in 40 first-team appearances. That’s a decent return for a player who took a bit of time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League but always looked like he was going to be involved in the goals, one way or another.

That’s why his second season was so baffling. It was, of course, a rubbish season for the club as we battled against relegation and had to deal with a global pandemic half-way through, but Anderson went from top-class midfielder in 18/19 to a half-assed liability in 19/20. 

It was a season in which we could have really done with a player like him taking it upon himself to lift the team with his obvious talent, just like he did in the second-half of that 2-1 win at Southampton in his first campaign. 

But we just didn’t see it and he ended 19/20 with just one goal and four assists in 28 appearances in all competitions. That’s a 67% drop in goal contributions in just 12 months.

For a £35m player, that can only be described as unacceptable. Real Madrid fans wouldn’t have stood for it (if he was playing for them, that is), so why should we? Obviously, we didn’t.

Nor did David Moyes, who clearly wasn’t impressed with Anderson’s style of play. While he clearly had talent and pace in abundance, we began to rarely see those attributes on show, with the Brazilian often seen lazily tracking back, jumping out of tackles and barely making an impact on any game in which he featured. 

Moyes wants his players to run and run and run. He likes hard working players, not luxury stars. So Anderson’s future was always going to be away from London Stadium after Moyes’ arrival. 

Now, having been sold back to Lazio for around £3m – via an unsuccessful year-long loan spell at Porto – we’ve had to stomach a loss of over £30m to get his £100k-a-week wages off the books. 

The loss is, of course, much more than that. Having roughly paid him over £10m in wages during his time at the club, the loss is actually over £40m, for a player who, it can be argued, only actually played for us for one season, because he was mostly missing for the second  and was doing absolutely nothing in Portugal for the third. 

But actually, on reflection, the club did the right thing in cutting their losses on Anderson this summer and just taking whatever they could get for him. 

It looks like terrible business on paper but, given his high wages, what would’ve been the point in keeping him at the club and Moyes trying to force him into a system that his ability just doesn’t suit?

The board now have an extra £100k-a-week to either give to a more deserving member, or members, of the squad (we all know who really deserves it!), or to use as a lovely little sweetener in contract negotiations with new signings. 

So while Anderson joins Sebastien Haller in the long list of ‘ridiculously expensive transfer mistakes’ at West Ham, his exit for such a small fee actually made so much sense for the club as Moyes continues to remove any trace of the Pellegrini and Husillos era, and instead builds a team full of players who actually fit the tactics he wants to play. 

Anderson was never a bad player, he just wasn’t the right one for West Ham.

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