Lazio have recently been linked with a move for Santos midfielder Felipe Anderson, and despite delays over the move being completed due to third party issues, the deal is expected to be concluded before too long.
The player’s agent, Stefano Castagna, wrote on Twitter: “After this week I will be at FIFA’s side in a bid to abolish third-party investors. They are bandits. Football is something else entirely. The lad won’t give up, as he 100 per cent wants Lazio, but we have to battle bandits... We’ll manage it, calmly.”
If and when the deal is concluded successfully, Anderson would become the latest in a surprisingly long line of South American footballers to don the famous sky blue shirt of the Rome-based club.
The 20-year-old is a Brazil U-20 international, but is yet to represent the 5-time world champions at senior level. He has featured in almost 60 games for Santos, scoring seven goals, and has impressed enough in his homeland to attract attention from Europe, with Lazio the most notable and concrete of the interest.
Indeed, Anderson had been set to join Lazio at the end of the January transfer window in a reported €7.5m deal, but the necessary paperwork failed to arrive in time and so the deal was cancelled. It is expected to be concluded this summer, however, as previously mentioned.
It is no surprise that Lazio are turning their attention to South America once more, considering their long and storied history of successful imports from the continent. One does not need to look much further back than last season, where there were no fewer than seven players in their first team who hailed from one of the nations within South America.
Goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri hails from Argentina, as does team-mate Mauro Zárate. Andre Dias, Ederson and Hernanes come from Brazil, while midfielder Álvaro González and striker Gonzalo Barreto are both Uruguay internationals, with the latter albeit at U-17 level so far.
As well as the present South Americans plying their trade at Stadio Olimpico, Lazio have enjoyed the spectacle of several legends who hailed from the continent fighting for their cause too. The likes of Marcelo Salas (Chile), Juan Sebastien Veron, Diego Simeone and Hernan Crespo (all Argentina) to name but a few have all enjoyed their spells at the club.
Anderson clearly wants this move, and he has good reason to feel optimistic once the deal has gone through – after all, he is taking the same path as several legends have done before him. Whether this is a sign of things to come remains to be seen, but he will surely be off to the best start possible.