Carlos, through his Portuguese connections, told us there was a young boy at Porto from Brazil called Anderson. He was 16 or 17. We kept an eye on him. He was in and out of the team. A game here, an appearance from the bench there. Then he played against us in the Amsterdam tournament and I resolved to act, but the following week he broke his leg.
When his recovery was complete, I sent Martin over to watch him in every game for four or five weeks. Martin said: "Alex, he’s better than Rooney."
"For Christ’s sake, don’t say that," I told him. "He’ll need to be good to be better than Rooney." Martin was adamant. -- "My Autobiography," Sir Alex Ferguson.
Maybe the Rooney Martin was referring to was John, Wayne's brother.
Anyway, someone actually wants Anderson! The Brazilian midfielder, who cost United £25 million in 2007, is, arguably, the biggest bust in club history. He's been so bad that United couldn't find anyone willing to gamble on him during the summer. United was toying with simply cutting him loose and eating the remaining six months on his contract like Anderson devouring a bag full of cheeseburgers. Turns out, he actually has a suitor in Brazilian club Internacional. And they're even willing to give him a four-year contract! Wonders never cease!
Clearly, they're hoping to get the 2007 version of Anderson (he was never better than he was during that debut season at Old Trafford). Heck, even the Anderson from 2010 to 2012, when he scored several good goals and played well when healthy (which wasn't as often as United would have liked), will do. In fact, for one brief period during the 2011-12 season, it looked like he and Tom Cleverley were going to boss the rest of the Premiership from central midfield. Seriously.
If Inter get the out-of-form and injury-prone Anderson that's been at United for the vast majority of the previous seven years, then they're screwed.
Anyway, I'll always remember him for stepping up during the first round of sudden death in the penalty shootout during the 2008 Champions League Final and calmly burying his kick. It must have taken a lot of nerve to be in that spot - not to mention self-control considering the euphoria and relief United players felt after John Terry missed what would have been the cup-clinching penalty. Sometimes, players are so locked in that they focus better when under pressure. Or they are in their own little worlds and oblivious to it all. With Anderson, I think it was a little of both. He tended to play well in big games (as Gary Neville points out) but was never able to figure out how to be consistent. At one point, it wasn't unreasonable to expect him to be both a big-game player and a consistent week-in, week-out performer. Those days are long gone, though. Hopefully Anderson can finally hit his potential now that he'll be away from the pressure cooker known as Old Trafford.