Why Napoli star Allan would be the perfect replacement for Fernandinho
Taking a quick look at this Manchester City squad will give you an idea as to what an unbelievable group of players Pep has brought together. With ample cover in every position, they are currently the best team in Europe and it’s not hard to see why.
It can be argued that a team that has players like Mahrez, Kompany, Gundogan and Jesus sitting on the bench, does not need more signings. But take a closer look at that squad and a gaping hole is visible that is yet to be filled.
On any matchday, the first name on the teamsheet is Fernandinho. Massively talented, his contribution to this city side will always remain underrated irrespective of the compliments he receives. The work that he does on the ball in the middle of the park is impeccable and it keeps this Manchester city team swinging from side to side.
It’s quite rare to see Fernandinho come off the pitch before 90 minutes are completed but when he does, German international Ilkay Gundogan often replaces him. From a positional perspective, it seems like a like-to-like change but their skill sets are completely different.
While Fernandinho is a physical midfield maestro who covers the passing lanes that even the opposition can’t identify and controls the pace of the game, Gundogan is a much more attack-minded central midfielder who is capable of producing the occasional brilliant pass.
While Gundogan is proficient going forward, in the defensive phase of things against strong opposition, he could find it difficult to cope without Fernandinho covering. So the question that arises here is if Fernandinho was to pick up a long-term knock, would they be able to cope against the bigger teams with just Gundogan in the middle?
This is where Brazilian international Allan comes into the picture. Simply put, he is the perfect blend of all the strengths showcased by both Fernandinho and Gundogan combined. His passing range is something that most holding midfield players envy.
His right foot also packs a stellar punch and that is displayed in the goals he scores – most of them coming from distance. While his attacking prowess is unquestionable, his work rate in the defensive side of the game is what makes him stand out from the rest.
He always defends first and although he is a lone holding midfielder, he acts like a brick wall that protects the Napoli centre-halves. Capable of reading the play and intercepting the passes extremely well, his ruggedness and desire to win the ball back has been driving Napoli forward for the last few seasons.
Allan’s talents were best displayed when Sarri was the manager of Napoli. An exclusive role was made for him and his work rate was unmatched. Under Pep’s guidance, he would only get better.
With Fernandinho already at 33 years of age, maybe it’s time to start looking for a long-term replacement and in today’s football market, Pep needs to look no further than Allan for the perfect Fernandinho alternative.