United may swap Anderson for Rodriguez

Manchester United midfielder Anderson could return to Porto this summer with the Portuguese club attempting to fund a summer move for the Brazilian.

The 25-year-old, who cost United ┬ú25.7ÔÇëmillion when he left Porto for Old Trafford in May 2007, has failed to realise his potential since arriving in England as a teenager and it is understood that Sir Alex Ferguson is prepared to sell him at the end of the season.

With Ferguson a long-term admirer of PortoÔÇÖs attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, the opportunity to offload Anderson to his former club could open the door for United to pursue their interest in the 21-year-old Colombian.

Reports in Portugal last summer claimed that United had a ┬ú25ÔÇëmillion offer for Rodriguez rejected by Porto and, while this remains unconfirmed, FergusonÔÇÖs ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Lucas Moura, who turned down a transfer to Old Trafford from Sao Paulo in favour a move to Paris St-Germain, highlighted the United managerÔÇÖs determination to add to his attacking options.

While the ┬ú12ÔÇëmillion purchase of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace in January will enhance UnitedÔÇÖs attacking threat, the likely departure of Nani ensures Rodriguez remains under consideration. But Porto are expected to press ahead with a move for Anderson, regardless of UnitedÔÇÖs intentions over Rodriguez.

Despite AndersonÔÇÖs failure to impress at United, where he has made just 167 appearances in six seasons, his reputation in Portugal is still strong because of his emergence as a teenage prodigy at Porto following a ┬ú5ÔÇë million move from Gremio as a 17-year-old.

With two years remaining on his United contract, the Premier League leaders will regard this summer as the optimum time to cash in on Anderson should Porto make a suitable offer.

Having missed UnitedÔÇÖs last three fixtures, Anderson is unlikely to figure against West Ham United at Upton Park on Wednesday night as FergusonÔÇÖs players aim to move closer to claiming the seven points required to confirm the title.

Although UnitedÔÇÖs four-month unbeaten run in the league was ended by Manchester City last Monday, the club remain on course to amass a Premier League record points haul if they win all six of their remaining fixtures.

Such a run would mean United finish the campaign on 98 points and erase ChelseaÔÇÖs 2004-05 champions from the record books with their total of 95 points.

Robin van Persie admitted that milestone was a target. ÔÇ£We donÔÇÖt just want to try to win the league by getting the points we need, we want to get maximum points now from the games remaining,ÔÇØ Van Persie said. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs important that you keep a run of wins going and thatÔÇÖs what we want to do.ÔÇØ

Rio Ferdinand, who has yet to agree a new contract at United to replace the final two months of his present deal, insists that the team have overcome last weekÔÇÖs defeat to City.

The former West Ham defender believes United must now ensure they quickly finish off the title race.

ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖve got to make sure we finish the season correctly and get this title back,ÔÇØ Ferdinand said. ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖre not far off it but itÔÇÖs not over until itÔÇÖs over.

ÔÇ£We have to make we remain focused and apply ourselves in the right way to achieve it. WeÔÇÖve churned out results through hard work and preparing ourselves in the right way.

ÔÇ£We have to continue that. ItÔÇÖs some going that record and we canÔÇÖt let one or two recent bad results undo all the hard work that weÔÇÖve done.

ÔÇ£When I look around the changing room I expect us to be winning games nine times out of 10. I believe in the squad, believe we can win games in various different ways, winning ugly, playing fluent football, keeping a clean sheet.

ÔÇ£It would be great to win a sixth [Premier League] medal, but until we do it, I donÔÇÖt want to talk much about it. Last season a lot of people got ahead of themselves and we donÔÇÖt want to make the same mistake again.ÔÇØ

by @prolixir.