One of the most shocking moves that Lazio made during the most recent summer transfer window was the signing of Felipe Anderson. The Biancocelesti bought back the Brazilian for €3 million, exciting numerous fans, as his best seasons were with the club in Rome.
The attacker was sold by the Biancocelesti back in July 2018 to West Ham United in the Premier League for a substantial fee of €38 million. However, in the following two seasons, there was a significant decline in his game which led to an immense decrease in his value.
So, was bringing Felipe Anderson back to Rome a smart decision by Lazio?
Prior to scoring in the second game of the season for Lazio, the last time Felipe Anderson scored a goal was back on September 15, 2020, versus Charlton in the Second Round of the EFL Cup. It had been quite a while since the forward had been able to find the back of the net in a professional match.
When the Brazilian left Lazio to join West Ham in 2018, he flourished in his first season as he scored ten goals and added five assists across all competitions. The following two seasons, Felipe Anderson started to drop off in form and struggled to perform in the EPL.
In his second season with the Hammers, he finished with one goal and added six assists across all competitions. He began the next season with West Ham before being sent on a season-long loan with FC Porto. His struggles continued as he played 254 minutes with Porto where he earned one assist and was rarely featured in matches.
Although Felipe Anderson failed to meet expectations at West Ham and struggled on loan with Porto, a change of scenery could help him regain his confidence and form. The forward spent four seasons with Lazio where he flourished and managed to excel in his game; he scored 34 goals with the club and added 39 assists in 177 matches before rejoining.
Lazio went through a massive overhaul with the departure of ex-manager, Simone Inzaghi. Shifting from the 3-5-2 to the 4-3-3 meant that the club would need wingers this season. Felipe Anderson was a player that filled that void as he is a versatile player who provides Sarri with numerous options and could be dependable in various situations; his primary position is left-wing but he could also play as a right-winger or as an attacking midfielder.
Along with being versatile, he is quick, has the ability to beat players in one on one situations, has good ball control, and has excellent dribbling skills. He is a much different player compared to the other wingers on the team and offers a different dimension to Lazio’s overall game. In addition, since his time as manager of Napoli, Sarri has been interested in Felipe Anderson. The Italian has managed to get the best out of players such as Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, and this could be a similar case with Felipe Anderson.
Lastly, Felipe Anderson’s return could be compared to Immobile’s as the Italian did well in the Serie A yet failed to impress overseas. Italy could possibly be where Felipe Anderson thrives based on how he plays the game. The forward struggled to transition from Serie A to the English Premier League – which has been the case for numerous players – but returning to the league where he was successful has got him back on track.
The forward has scored three goals and contributed five assists in 21 Serie A matches; of those three goals, two have been games winners versus Inter and Roma.
While there is still around half a season remaining, Felipe Anderson has shown to be an impactful player and difference maker late in matches. A fan favourite has returned to Lazio; while it remains to be seen how this deal will work out, it cost Lazio very little and they could reap the rewards if he is able to improve his consistency.