Everton have sorely missed Idrissa Gueye ever since he left the club in the summer, with a succession of players having lined up at the defensive midfielder position since then. Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who was supposed to be his heir apparent, has struggled mightily with unfortunate injuries. Fabian Delph has been found wanting as has Morgan Schneiderlin at numerous points this season. Mason Holgate has been the best of the lot but still has some developing to do, and with the Blues’ deficiencies in central defence, he’s been utilized there more.
With Carlo Ancelotti joining the Blues after being let go by Napoli, there has been a number of his former players linked with a move to Merseyside, but none of those rumours came to pass during the January transfer window.
However since then, midfielder Allan has reportedly had a falling out with new Napoli manager Gennaro Gattusso. The Brazilian was dropped from the squad this weekend to play against Cagliari, with the manager citing an attitude issue he perceived during training -
“Allan didn’t train the way I like. He walked around during training and that’s not alright with me.”
Media sources were quick to jump all over this, even though his fellow teammates insisted there was no lingering issue or that Allan was dropped to send a message. After the game, Gattusso went on to explain further his stance.
“I respect my players and would climb mountains for them, but they have to work for me too. I want them to respect the club, to respect their profession and their teammates.
“If someone comes to me and says, sorry, my mind is not on the job, I’ll shake his hand and say alright then. Allan had important offers, but that’s up to the club, it has nothing to do with me.
“There is no problem with Allan, we begin with a clean slate tomorrow, no rancour, and I will work to get him back into his best shape.”
That didn’t stop the rumour mill though, with Italian sports outlet Corriere del Mezzogiorno (via Sports Mole) claiming that Everton had proposed a £17m bid for the midfielder who still has three years left on his deal after this season.
However they go on to say that this is unlikely to satisfy the Neapolitan side who want at least twice that amount, with the 29-year-old a target of a number of sides including Inter Milan.
Earlier yesterday another outlet Corriere dello Sport (via Football Italia) claimed that Allan was one of the chief instigators that led to the player rebellion earlier in the season that led to the club President Aurelio DeLaurentiis sacking Ancelotti. They added the player hasn’t been at his best this season, and that he had been the subject of a rejected €75m transfer bid from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, with the French side then going on to sign Gana from the Blues instead.
Someone asked for Bakayoko vs Allan, but given stats like this, Allan kinda deserves his own tweet.— StatsBomb (@StatsBomb) December 14, 2018
This is amazeballs. pic.twitter.com/FA9NRjaf1c
At his peak, Allan has been a dominant central midfielder, with Maurizio Sarri taking credit for turning him into a pivotal player in his Napoli squad a couple of seasons ago.
Everton’s need for a tackling machine that could make game-changing passes from a deep-lying position has preceeded Gueye’s time on Merseyside, but Allan’s distribution whether through passing or progressing the ball himself has been quite exemplary.
However, considering the player is approaching 30, Marcel Brands will be cautious to committing too much money in both transfer fees and wages to him, with the remaining years of Delph’s contract still hanging over the Blues’ financial future.
There is no doubt that Allan would be an immediate upgrade to the Everton midfield right now, but with younger midfielders like Boubakary Soumaré and Ibrahim Sangaré likely to also be available in the summer, it’ll be interesting to see which way Ancelotti and Brands go.