Most Everton fans would surely agree that the Carlo Ancelotti years have got off to positive enough start. The Italian will be supported in the summer transfer window, you suspect, and in the downtime lately he will no doubt have been drawing up a shortlist of targets that he wants to bring to Merseyside.
And while his time at Napoli didn’t got to plan, the suggestion is that Ancelotti will be looking to bring in one or two of his former employees in Naples.Tabloid rumours linking the Toffees with a sensational move for Dries Mertens seem to be wide of the mark, and indeed in the online football betting with Betfair the club is long odds at 33/1 to entice the Belgian star to the club.
However, an alternative option – and one that appears to have some legs – would be a move for the Brazilian midfielder Allan. He was a favourite of Ancelotti’s at Napoli, but since Gennaro Gattuso has taken over as head coach at the club Allan has struggled to get a game – only playing the full 90 minutes twice since December. The sticking point? It is believed that he has an asking price in place of a whopping £63 million, as per The Daily Mail, and that is a rather exorbitant investment for a player that turns 30 in January.
But is it a deal that makes sense given what he brings to the table?
A Dynamic Presence
One of the things that is sadly lacking in Everton’s midfield is a sense of dynamism – the all-important guile to break the opposition’s lines with clever movement or a slick vertical pass.
Tom Davies, Fabian Delph, Morgan Schneiderlin and Andre Gomes haven’t registered a single assist between them all season-long according to WhoScored, and while they are all deployed in deeper areas it is clear the side’s attacking output needs to improve – from front to back.
Allan isn’t a player that can be described as a goal-scoring midfielder by any stretch of the imagination, but he is an energetic presence who will get forward and join in with attacks – should Ancelotti allow him to from a tactical perspective, of course.
The Brazilian is what tactical historians might term the classic ‘number eight’, in that he is happy to carry the ball forward – he has completed 1.1 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Serie A this term – and thus links the defence with the forward line. That would be ideal to prevent the likes of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin from becoming isolated.
In addition, Allan is comfortable playing in a counter-attacking system, hitting 2.6 long passes per 90 minutes this season, and with an overall pass success rate of 86% from more than 1,000 minutes played that really is some going.