Anderson Hernanes de Carvalho Viana Lima – this extraordinarily long name has got the Lazio fans buzzing. Simply known as Hernanes, the twenty-five-year-old Brazilian signed for the Biancocelesti on 6th August and has not even arrived in Italy yet. However the anticipation surrounding the signing of this big name player, Lazio’s most exciting transfer for some time, is evident in all of the Italian sports pages and amongst the tifosi. It was only last year that British broadsheet newspaper The Times hailed Hernanes as the most highly rated young player in world football, ahead of players such as Karim Benzema and David Silva.
Hernanes arrives from Brazilian club Sao Paulo for a fee in the region of €10m, and has signed a five year deal. The Brazilian attacking midfielder said: “I want to achieve success like I did in Brazil, I want to win with Lazio and enjoy a brilliant career in Italy.” Lazio coach Edy Reja praised President Claudio Lotito and said that the signing of Hernanes will make his team’s midfield more creative. If all goes well the young South American should be making his Serie A debut in Lazio’s opening game against Sampdoria in two weeks time.
Indeed the President may yet keep his chequebook open, as he remains confident of securing the signature of Portsmouth’s want-away playmaker Kevin-Prince Boateng. Lazio are offering an undisclosed amount to the cash strapped Premier League side, believed to be more than the offer from the Boateng’s preferred choice Genoa, however the Ligurian side’s offer of Anthony Vanden Borre as a makeweight appears to have made them favourites to sign the Ghanaian and Lotito may have to look elsewhere. In other transfer news Cristian Ledesma has still not confirmed that he will stay with the Roman side. The 27-year-old Argentine has only twelve months left on his contract, and despite a falling out with Lotito last season, the president is urging Ledesma to sign an extension.
Away from transfers Lazio enjoyed two memorable days last week. On Friday the eternal nemesis Roma were thumped 5-1 by Olympiacos, and the following day the Biancocelesti recorded a good win over La Liga new boys Levante, the match ending 3-1. Alvaro Gonzalez, Libor Kozak and a last minute effort by Guglielmo Stendardo ensured a convincing win. The pre-season victory was welcomed after a disastrous display against Racing Santander a few days before in which the home team were outplayed, and finally succumbed 1-3. Lazio are due to play one final friendly before the start of the season against La Liga side Deportivo, and although the date has been changed twice, that match is scheduled for August 22, a week before their season starts in earnest against the Blucerchiati at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.