As things stand, we know very little about what the future holds for Manchester United, officially.
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Just about everyone assumes Louis Van Gaal will be relieved of his duties as manager of the club either before or during the summer, with Jose Mourinho and Ryan Giggs the two names most frequently spoken as his successor. One thing is for sure, though: whoever takes over at Old Trafford, an absolute fortune is going to be spent on new players in the upcoming transfer window(s)… again.
The spending may have already begun, actually, if a (disputed) quote from Lazio president Claudio Lotito is to be believed. According to Lotito, an astronomical fee has been agreed to send Felipe Anderson, Lazio’s prized 22-year-old attacking midfielder, to Man United in the summer — quotes from the Guardian:
“I bought Felipe Anderson for [$9 million] and have sold him for [$66 million] — next year he will go to Manchester United.”
Lazio have since denied the quote came from Lotito.
Anderson, who moved from Santos in his native Brazil to Lazio at the age of 20, has been on the radars of European giants for a long time now, with clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal reportedly longtime admirers, but a fee of $66 million for a still-unfinished product that’s far from a “sure thing” seems an insane risk. It’s barely been six months since they did the same thing with Anthony Martial ($55 million in August). Buying $50-60 million players to “develop” is an incredibly bold business practice.
It’s worthwhile to consider which prospective manager might be behind such a signing, perhaps having given his blessing upon accepting the job. Would they really continue to blindly purchase players for the next manager if he’s still unknown at this point? Mourinho’s certainly more connected to Italy, having managed three seasons at Inter Milan and remained close to prominent Italian football figures.