Sunday September 6 2020
Napoli won't miss Everton's Allan

Seeing Allan join Carlo Ancelotti at Everton was the best solution for all concerned, writes Kaustubh Pandey, as Napoli should’ve sold him sooner.

It would have been strange to suggest that Napoli wouldn’t miss Allan if the Brazilian left the Partenopei at the same time as Jorginho in 2018, but times change. One of Maurizio Sarri’s most important players at the club until that summer, the former Udinese man often embodied a warrior-like box to box role in the heart of the midfield. His job was to protect Jorginho and make up for his occasional defensive lapses. He had to recycle possession quickly and often get involved in play as well.

After Sarri departed for Stamford Bridge and Carlo Ancelotti took over at the Stadio San Paolo, things changed for Allan. Don Carlo did start with Sarri’s 4-3-3 in the beginning of the 2018-19 season, slowly transitioned to a 4-4-2 as the campaign progressed. As a result of this, Allan’s role constantly changed in the heart of the park. He often played in a double pivot beside a more attacking player in Piotr Zielinski or Fabian Ruiz in a system that hardly saw Napoli dominate as much possession as they did under Sarri.

Even at Udinese and then under Sarri, Allan was more used to venturing forwarding quite a few times in games. His chance creation was higher and he was seen as one of the best box to box midfielders in Serie A. Playing a lot deeper under Ancelotti was a different experience and while he did enjoy a good 2018-19 campaign, things changed even more last season.

Ancelotti’s 4-4-2 shape lacked a proper holding midfielder and teams could play through the Partenopei with little effort. When Allan struggled in the defensive midfield role, Ancelotti tried Zielinski and even Fabian Ruiz there and that didn’t quite work out too well either. Napoli were constantly getting over-run on the counter-attack and despite screams from fans to turn to the old 4-3-3, Ancelotti never really fancied that. The recruitment wasn’t done for a 4-4-2 and it showed, as Allan endured struggles on and off the pitch.

For the first time in many years, constant fitness issues cropped up. His game time in Serie A halved and fatigue became a main issue. There were constant knee issues that left him on the bench more than he’d have liked. In a sense, it was perhaps Allan’s worst season in a Napoli shirt - due to the fitness issues and the failure to perform that came as a result.

Ancelotti’s exit brought Gennaro Gattuso to Naples and while expectations were low, Rino gave a structure to the Napoli midfield with the signing of Diego Demme from RB Leipzig. He went back to the 4-3-3 with the only difference being the pragmatism in his approach. Stanislav Lobotka arrived as a box to box option as well and donned the role of rotating with Zielinski. Fabian, as a result, became their regular advanced midfield option.

While Allan did start in the first five games under Rino, he was largely unimpressive in a run of one win in five. Again, the fitness issues struck. The Brazilian could start only two league games after that, as he fell down the pecking order. The way the campaign panned out hardly makes it a surprise that Napoli got rid of Allan. A case can be made of the fact that they should have moved him on in January 2019 when Paris Saint-Germain were offering upwards of €50m.

They could have got a higher fee and that might have helped them bring in a replacement much earlier. Roma’s Jordan Veretout continues to be linked with a move to the San Paolo and while it remains to be seen if the Frenchman can make another move after joining from Fiorentina, the last few months suggest Napoli will not miss Allan at all.

This is why his move to Everton makes sense largely because of Ancelotti’s presence at Goodison Park. He does add structure to the midfield, and despite struggling last season, he did win an average of over three tackles per 90 minutes. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s past his prime and if Everton had scoured through the market, they might have found cheaper alternatives.

As we’ve seen many times in the past though, Don Carlo knows how to get the most out of certain players. It will be interesting to see how this pans out with Allan, but one can't help but feel it's a situation where Napoli and the player will always think about what might've been if he'd gone to PSG.

Have your say...
Napoli will fight for Serie A midtable in 2020/21.
on the 10th September, 2020 at 12:31pm
I wonder whether this writer will say the same thing about Koulibaly?! SOmething like, YES< he's one of the 3 greatest CV in da world, but, he's past his prime, he's 29 and Napoli will do just fine!
ARE U SERIOUS? Platers GET THEIR ZENITH FROM 27 TO 32 & FOR DEFENDERS GOES 35! What's with this guy?
Just because the man fell a season from form, you think he's over? The thing is Napoli has great MF & can easily replace him (without Veretout), especially cuz they don't need that type of player now
on the 7th September, 2020 at 9:31pm
@Pino This isn't about the club whose fans try to physically intimidate/beat up tourists if they dare to wear Juventus jerseys in Naples, or break seats/toilets when Nabboli lose in Allianz Stadium in Turin. This is about the quality of this blog, which is to say this blog has NONE. Dennis has explained it aptly, but the way these blogs are being churned out by these dilettante bloggers is what driving this site to the nadir.
on the 7th September, 2020 at 6:55pm
@Luca, i agree. Allan they can do without but koulibally!! One of best centre backs there is and Napoli are selling. What a pity. Though from a financial sense, after this season his value will only drop considering his age. However, to replace him with sokratis, surely with over 100 million from allan and koulibaly and possibly milik, there is some good centre back to be got
on the 7th September, 2020 at 3:22pm
At his prime he was the one of best box to box midfielders in Serie A at the time. Players drift in and out of relevance at Napoli depending on the coach, which to an extent is valid for every club but moreso at Napoli it feels. The constant speculation and the lack of willingness to sell has probably had him on an emotional rollercoaster so he's probably ecstatic that his Napoli adventure is over. Also I don't think anyone should entertain the idea that a 29 year old is past their prime.
on the 7th September, 2020 at 3:19pm
@ Pinturicchio Not reading because its not about cheating German teams from up north?

Some of us want to read about actual Italian (teams south of the Po) teams, thanks.
on the 7th September, 2020 at 1:40pm
If they need more funds for those deals Milik, Ounas, Ghoulam and Younes can all be moved on
on the 7th September, 2020 at 12:53pm

completely agree, KK showed signs of decline in the past season and Allan didn't really play so losing them both won't be the end of the world but they need a better replacement than Sokratis! I'd like to see a double swoop from Benfica and get Ruben Dias and Alex Grimaldo. Failing that i'd like Reguilon, Telles or Gaya for the LB position and maybe someone like Pau Torres of Villarreal or take a risk on Umtiti from Barca
on the 7th September, 2020 at 12:51pm
This writer said that Allan's initial struggles at Napoli started when Ancelotti decided to play his favoured 4-4-2 and a few sentences later said Allan's move to Everton makes sense because of the same Ancelotti who apparently could not bring the best out of Allan.

Allan is 29 so how can this writer say so matter of fact that he is past his prime because of 1 relatively poor season.
on the 7th September, 2020 at 11:22am
It was time to sell. Pity they didn't squeeze a bit more out of an epl side, as they tend to be pretty daft with their spending.

If they can get 100m for Allan and Koulibaly, both 29, then it'll be good business.

Problem is, if Soktaris is the best they can do as they waited and waited (as they often do at Napoli) on Gabriel, then they have no hope.

They look to have a good attack this season, but they badly need a top CB too, and certainly not Sokratis
on the 7th September, 2020 at 10:37am
They probably won't miss him but they will miss Koulibaly if they replace him with Sokratis from Arsenal. Napoli are one of the few sides that are managing to offload players for a decent sum (Assuming KK and Milik are sold) so should have a bit of cash at a time when bargains are there to be taken. Show some ambition as they did with Osimhen and go for someone better than Sokratis!
on the 7th September, 2020 at 10:18am
Once again, a blog not even worth reading.
on the 7th September, 2020 at 9:32am
Ever heard the phrase Grapes are sour?
on the 7th September, 2020 at 12:58am

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