Anderson's knee injury will keep him out of action until February, but Sir Alex Ferguson thinks he has enough midfield options to endure the Brazilian's absence. The Manchester United manager sees no need to shop for January reinforcements, according to the club website.
Anderson was a key figure in United's midfield for much of the season, but has not played since Nov. 2. The club first thought the injury would be a short-term problem, but scans revealed the extent of the damage to his previously-injured knee.
"It's in the midfield area where we've still got issues with Tom Cleverley and Anderson," Ferguson said. "It's not good news about Anderson, we don't think he'll be fit until February. He's got this knee injury and we've sent him back to Portugal to see the specialist who operated on his knee last time. That's a bit of a blow, we didn't expect that one. So that's the two midfield players who are going to be missing for a spell now."
Cleverly and Anderson formed a dynamic partnership in the first month and a half of United's season. Long-term injuries to both have seen familiar faces restored to the starting 11 in recent weeks. Ferguson boasts a trio of experienced options from which to chose. Each adds a unique dimension to the United team.
"We're not as bad as people think we are in midfield," Ferguson said. "Ryan Giggs gives you experience of course, Michael Carrick's form in the last two games has been outstanding. He had a little bit of a problem with his Achilles earlier on in the season but he’s got over that now and the grounds are softer now of course which helps.
"Darren Fletcher, given the right preparation, is always a very, very good player for us. Getting Tom Cleverley back would be a bonus if we can get him back around Christmas time. It would be a bonus to get him back because he’s such a clever footballer. I think we're okay, we've got a strong squad."
Some observers urge Ferguson to participate in the winter transfer market, but the 70-year-old only wants to add players who will improve the team without straining club finances.
"It's dead easy to say you'll go out and buy players," he warned. "But it's not easy to buy players who are good enough for Manchester United, especially in January. I could choose two or three players who you'd like to have at this club who are not available. So there's no point in even going there."
Photo via Flickr/thiago Lis