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Has Anderson Done A Nani?

After another fantastic display against Arsenal on Monday evening it seems Anderson could finally start producing the displays we expect of a player who was signed to eventually take Paul Scholes’ place in the team.

The Brazilian has been rewarded with a new 4 and a half year deal signed on Wednesday and puts to rest the recent speculation that his future lies in Greece or in Portugal.

After signing the deal Anderson said: “This is the best club to be at and I would like to thank everyone for the great support I have received over the years.

“I am looking forward to winning many more trophies with United and I am so pleased to have signed a new contract.”

He started well when he joined Manchester United form Porto in a deal believed to be around £17 million, which is a large outlay for a young player but also shows the ability he was and is believed to have.

But after a series of ineffective displays it appeared his time was up and he would be offloaded, either in January or in the summer. But he has returned well from a serious knee injury and cemented a place in the side, proving pivotal in the matches against Blackburn Rovers, Valencia and Arsenal.

It was the Blackburn match where he showed how effective he could be, linking well with Rooney, Berbatov and Nani, attempting 99 passes and completing a staggering 94 of them.

The shackles have been taken off the midfielder and he has been given license to get forward much more providing a link between midfield and attack, something that has been sorely lacking in recent years and an area where it seemed we would bring in a big name player to fill the void.

It could be this change has been forced but even so it has worked. While also being complimented by deploying of Ji-Sung Park on the left side of midfield but having him move inside to cover Anderson when he ventures forward, this filling the gap made by the Brazilian.

This assurance that he will be given some assurance has led to a number of late runs into the box, notably against Valencia where he grabbed a goal and then against Arsenal where the goalkeeper made a good save to deny him his third United goal.

Despite having this defensive responsibility reduced you will still find Anderson tracking back and battling for the ball. He is tremendously strong and with a couple of years playing in a more restricted role, he has learned how to anticipate the opposition forwards and positions himself accordingly.

His situation also resembles that of Nani, brought in at the same time. The potential is there for all to see but harnessing it and getting consistent performances seemed to be an issue, but whether is was a stern warning from Sir Alex Ferguson, greater application in training or just a general change in attitude, Nani has gone on to be a key player for us and I feel this is the turning point for Anderson.

Although, there is one area that needs some serious work and that would be his final ball, just a little tweak and we could have one of the most dangerous attacking midfielders in Europe.