Lazio deny claims that £45m Felipe Anderson has 'already been sold' to Manchester United
Lazio have issued a statement denying reports that club president Claudio Lotito has claimed that he has "already sold" his attacking midfielder Felipe Anderson to Manchester United for £45m.
United have been heavily linked with a move for Anderson over the last year and Lazio confirmed that they rejected offers from the Old Trafford club to sign the 22-year-old Brazilian last summer.
News outlet Calciomercato quoted Lotito as saying that the Brazilian had been sold to the Red Devils.
“I signed Felipe Anderson for €8m and have already re-sold him for €60m,” Lotito reportedly said. “Next year he’ll go to Manchester United.”
The Serie A club have quickly issued a statement to deny the report.
"In reference to statements attributed to president Claudio Lotito regarding the alleged sale of Felipe Anderson, Lazio can confirm they are devoid of any foundation," it read.
Lotito’s comments were apparently overheard by journalists as he spoke off camera at a press conference and while they may not provide concrete evidence that a deal is in place, it does suggest negotiations between the two clubs over Anderson are ongoing.
Lazio's sporting director Igli Tare has gone on the record over his club’s decision to reject a €50m from United for Anderson last summer, with the player’s form taking a dip in the months since as he has been criticised by his club’s supporters.
“We have to make a complete analysis when making decisions, both on an economic and sporting level,” he told reporters last month.
“I have seen the transfer activity at other clubs, where they decided to sell some of their valuable assets. It happened at Juventus, at Roma, at Inter Milan and at Napoli. They’re examples for us.
“The idea behind our decision not to take €50million for Felipe Anderson was because we wanted to continue our project with the same group after a good season. If you make it into the Champions League, your players are worth even more.”
Tare also defended the Brazilian's uncertain form in recent months as he stated: “Felipe Anderson is still young, this is his third season at Lazio and everyone knows him by now,” added Tare.
“Opponents have been studying his movements and put more effort into blocking him off. He has quality beyond the norm and needs just a little step up to grow.”