By Greg Stobart
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to cash in on Brazilian misfit Anderson after losing faith in the former Porto star.
Anderson has frustrated United with his lack of improvement since joining the club in 2007 and conversations were held over the summer about selling the 24-year-old, with Benfica and Tottenham linked with the 24-year-old.
United would want to recoup as much of the £18m (€22.5m) they paid to sign the all-action midfielder as possible in order to re-invest in the squad, with Ferguson understood to be keen to upgrade his central midfield options.
Anderson made just 10 Premier League appearances last season and has been blighted by injuries since arriving at Old Trafford, prompting Ferguson to raise concerns about his future.
“He hasn’t really realised his potential, which is there for all to see,” said Ferguson in April. “He is a fantastic footballer. I just hope he doesn’t have the bad luck that Michael Owen has had throughout his career.”
United are in no rush to sell Anderson in January, with the player under contract until 2015, but a departure next summer appears likely unless he can turn around his career this term.
United were interested in signing Mousa Dembele from Fulham before he joined Tottenham for £15m (€18.8m) last month, with Old Trafford sources citing the Belgian was considered as a potential replacement for Anderson.
“Fergie has been waiting for Anderson to burst into life but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen because he’s not got back on track since his cruciate knee ligament injury in 2010,” a United source told Goal.com. “He’s definitely considered available for the right offer, but a young player on a long contract won’t be sold on the cheap.”
Ferguson has scouted a number of midfield targets as he looks for a long-term replacement for 37-year-old Paul Scholes and has been told he will be allowed to re-invest proceeds from player sales.
Portuguese winger Nani could also be sold as he continues to haggle over a new contract, with two years remaining on his existing deal.
United made their mark in the transfer market in the summer as they look to claim back the Premier League title, signing Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner.