By Kris Voakes | International Football Correspondent
Lazio have had a wretched 2013-14 season so far. They’ve lost as many games as they have won in Serie A, lost their grip on the Coppa Italia and even seen city rivals Roma emerge as a genuine force.
Now they have also seen the departure of one of the two men on whom they had previously pinned most of their hopes for success.
Anderson Hernanes may not have been at the top of his game for most of the current campaign, but it is arguable that his form has suffered as a result of his team’s dip just as much as is true of the reverse. Now, the Brazilian has joined Inter in a €20 million deal which could well set him up for a renaissance ahead of – and beyond – this summer’s World Cup.
|HERNANES' CAREER STATS
Sao Paulo (2005-10)
Santo Andre (2006)
Even despite this season’s travails, his legacy at Lazio will be one of a flair-laden attacking playmaker, a scorer of great goals and important goals alike, a leader for the team and a go-to man in times of difficulty. Now his task is to reproduce that in the black and blue of Inter.
The Nerazzurri may seem to have overspent on the face of it, with few 28-year-olds (Hernanes turns 29 in May) usually commanding a €20m transfer fee in an Italian market which has seen recent economic troubles severely hamper club’s ambitions. However, the passage of time is not the first thing that should be considered with Hernanes, a man whose game has never been solely based on pace.
His vision, two-footedness, superb brain and deceptive strength have shone through in recent years at the Stadio Olimpico and he will hope to reproduce his best form at the San Siro.
Time is still on his side due to the elements of his game on which he relies. While the legs may slow, Hernanes’ speed comes mainly in the brain, and he has plenty of time left in that.
What Inter haven’t really had so far under Walter Mazzarri is a player in attacking positions who has the wherewithal to hold the ball and make best use of it. In Hernanes, they may well have found their man.
If his impact helps to ensure European football next year and sets a foundation for a Champions League assault in 2014-15, then he’ll prove to be worth a lot more than €20m.