Felipe Anderson appears to have poured cold water on a possible transfer to Manchester United, dismissing reports linking him with a move to the Premier League in order to focus on succeeding in Serie A with Lazio. The 22-year-old midfielder is also eager to add to his solitary cap for Brazil by proving his worth with an impressive showing at the 2016 Rio Olympics on home soil.
Anderson arrived in Europe from Santos in 2013 and established a reputation as one of Italian football's most exciting young attacking players, with 10 goals and seven assists during his second full season at the Stadio Olimpico. Talk of a lucrative switch away from Rome gathered pace last summer and only intensified in January when Gazzetta Dello Sport carried quotes attributed to club president Claudio Lotito in which he supposedly claimed to have agreed a deal with United worth €60m (£47m, $66.6m).
Lazio quickly rebuffed that speculation, however, insisting that such stories were "devoid of any foundation". Their denial has done little to silence whispers over Anderson's future, although the player himself appears eager to stay put amid ambitions of furthering his international career.
"There's nothing concrete," he told Fox Sports Brazil, as quoted by Football Italia. "They are rumours that circulate in the newspapers. They often write about my possible departure but I'm staying here.
"My objective is simply to do well in this shirt and get into the Brazil team. This way of training has already brought me to the Selecao for the Olympics but I must always think about improving more. There's great competition for a place at the Olympics, let alone the senior team.
"We're a competitive country, we have two formidable groups. I'm sure that the difficult period we've faced was due to a transition phase. There are very strong players at our disposal."
Anderson's only senior appearance for Brazil to date came in June 2015, when he replaced Fred for the final seven minutes of a 2-0 Copa America warm-up victory over Mexico in Sao Paulo. He was not included in Dunga's squad for the latest round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers, although did feature in the Brazil Football Confederation's (CBF) U23 group for the forthcoming pre-Olympic friendly double-header against Nigeria and South Africa.