Brazilian dynamo Allan promises to be Ancelotti's midfield linchpin

Allan Marques was unveiled as part of an anticipated £70m worth of incoming midfield talent today, with James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucouré expected to follow shortly — a trio of moves that promises to radically overhaul the Blues’ massively under-performing mid-section

Lyndon Lloyd 05/09/2020 69comments  |  Jump to last

In a curtailed close season that left just seven weeks between the end of the protracted 2019-20 campaign and the start of 2020-21 and only saw the last of the European cup matches completed last week, Everton’s first summer signing has arrived just a week shy of the new kick-off.

Allan Marques was unveiled as part of an anticipated £70m worth of incoming midfield talent today, with James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucouré expected to follow shortly — a trio of moves that promises to radically overhaul the Blues’ massively under-performing mid-section.

While the talents that Rodriguez, the Colombian heart-throb who lit up the 2014 World Cup on his way to grabbing the tournament’s Golden Boot before sealing a massive £63m move to Real Madrid, will bring the club are clear, what Allan, a comparatively more obscure Brazilian international, offers is less well known but potentially just as important to Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

A tenacious player capable of operating in either a defensive- or attacking-midfield role, Allan promises to provide some of the territory-covering mobility that Idrissa Gueye did in his time with Everton. While not as adept at tackling as the Senegalese, Allan’s strength as a disruptor appears to be in closing down the spaces and opposition players. As Sean O’Brien succinctly put it for talkSPORT this week, Allan, “combines the samba style of Joga Bonito with the more English way of getting stuck in.”

While it’s unclear what his brief will be from Ancelotti — will he be deployed in front of the back four or allowed to more of a box-to-box link man playing ahead of André Gomes? — he is able to get forward to supplement attacks and, typically for a Brazilian, he can at times be very skilful and exhibit wonderful technique on the ball.

It could well be that Ancelotti sees Allan as being a foot soldier, the type of player he describes in his book, Quiet Leadership, as his favourite because he was a similar “workhorse” or “water-carrier” in his playing days.

“The foot soldiers are the players who give their heart for the team — every time, in every game and training session — so I don’t need to spend a lot of time with these kinds of players. They self-motivate 100% of the time.” It should be noted that Allan’s form dropped off significantly after Ancelotti left Napoli last December, but, like Rodriguez, a reunion with his old boss could be all he needs to get back to something closer to his best.


A segment from The Blue Room Extra interview with South American football journalist Tim Vickery, who offers his insight on Allan and James Rodriguez

For a recent The Blue Room podcast, Matt Jones spoke to South American football expert, Tim Vickery, to get this thoughts on what kind of signing Marques will be for Everton.

“He’s one of those players who is valued by coaches than he is by fans,” Vickery explains, although there was at least one tweet from Napoli fans this week lamenting the imminent loss of ‘our only defensive midfielder’. “He’s not a particularly glamorous player but he’s one of those who solves you problems, who plugs gaps, who links the lines, who’s versatile.

“He wasn’t seen as a glamour player (at Vasco da Gama) at all but I think Italian football places a very high premium on that kind of versatility and tactical functionality. He’s given years of service to both Udinese and Napoli and the great thing about [this move] is that Ancelotti knows him; knows exactly what he’s getting.

“There’s a slight comparison I would make with Fernandinho at Manchester City. Obviously, physically [Allan] is a bit different — he’s a smaller player — but exactly that kind of thing with the kind of qualities that Guardiola has loved about Fernandinho as a problem-solver.

“When Brazil first called him up, the manager said about him that, ‘he’s got wheels for feet,’ and I think that sums him up quite nicely — gets around the field, sees the problems, plugs the gaps… perhaps the things that coaches see more than some of the fans do.

“He’s not the kind of player who’s going to single-handedly haul Everton into contention for a Champions League place but he is going to help with the functionality of the side.

“It does seem like a lot of money to be paying for someone who is coming up [to] 30 but, back to the point, Ancelotti knows exactly what he’s getting. He’s a player who is very, very useful and will help the functionality of the side.

“At his age, he should, physically, still be at his peak but for two or three years maybe, because a player who needs, I think, to be physically at his peak to do what he does well. He needs those ‘wheels in his feet’ to be working and to be well-oiled. If he’s not getting around the field as well as he can do then his effectiveness is severely limited.”

If there are ingredients that Everton have badly missed in midfield recently they are tenacity, mobility and the tracking of runners, qualities that Allan would seem poised to provide. As such, he forms part of a noticeable pivot away from Marcel Brands’s stated focus on buying younger players either with potential longevity or greater resale value towards a “needs must” approach of adding demonstrated quality to improve the squad now.

That hasn’t come cheap but the hope is that with Ancelotti’s feet now well and truly under the table with players that he knows and trusts added to the squad, Everton will be a significantly stronger side next season and far better positioned to achieve the goal of challenging for European places in 2020-21.

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David Pearl
1 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:25:54
Great news, pity they all come a week late so to be involved in the pointless pre-season game today, I'm not sure who exactly is available for it.
Philip McKeown
2 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:26:52
Class signing. I'm delighted with this. I have little doubt that he will fill a Gana Gueye sized hole.

I also hope that Allan, Doucouré and Gomes play as three. They are all different and could complement each other superbly. Visions of Carsley, Tommy Gravesen and the Blue Kangaroo...

Thomas Lennon
3 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:27:05
Finally, we have replaced Reidy. Took a while.
John Wilson
4 Posted 05/09/2020 at 13:45:56
Lyndon. Good article, yes am dyslexic and yes probably because of that my grammar is far from perfect. With that said as the caveat, I think you should have used 'these' in the context of 'ingredients.'

You put 'they' but for me in that situation 'they' is probably plural used for he/ she.

Conor McCourt
5 Posted 05/09/2020 at 14:31:12
"It should be noted that his form tailed off significantly after Ancelotti left and like Rodriguez it seems like all he needs is to be re-united with his old boss could and likely see him get back to his best".

Lyndon, it seems like you are getting lost in this hysteria surrounding Carlo and perpetuating these myths that circle around Toffeeeweb. Allan played his best football under Sarri where he was given more licence and produced the best stats of his career with decent assists and goals to boot.

He was decent in his first season under Carlo but this season his form was poor long before the manager left the club, indeed he was having his worst season at the club under Carlo. Gattuso was just more ruthless and dropped the player.

It's not that he can't get back to his best under Carlo that I take umbrage with, it's the "likely" assumption which has no basis.

Gordon White
6 Posted 05/09/2020 at 14:41:01
Enjoyed reading this thank you. Good points.

Really pleased about the signing. I think Allan will allow others the opportunity to shine. And take some of the often constant pressure off our backline. Hopefully, other players will take note of his work ethic and commitment.

Kieran Kinsella
7 Posted 05/09/2020 at 14:42:50

You're confusing Gueye's name with his nationality. He is from Senegal, not Ghana.

Lyndon Lloyd
8 Posted 05/09/2020 at 14:48:37
Fair enough, Conor [5]. I take your point about "likely" and I've modified the verbiage accordingly but the point was based on a number of accounts that argued his form changed after Ancelotti left and his move to PSG fell through. Whether it was a matter of degree relative to how he was playing under Sarri I'll leave to more qualified observers of Italian football and maybe that's you, I don't know.

As for "getting lost in this hysteria surrounding Carlo", I've had plenty of criticism for him since he arrived so don't have a blind faith in his abilities to turn us around but the basis of this piece is how he (Carlo), as someone they know, stands the best chance of improving the form of the likes of Allan and Rodriguez. Put bluntly, they wouldn't be joining us if they didn't think so themselves.

Kieran [7], thanks for catching that weird subconscious slip. I, of course, know Gueye is from Senegal. My brain must have made some strange connection based on his middle name, as you say!

James Flynn
9 Posted 05/09/2020 at 16:15:16
The description reads like he's a mixture of Gana and Barry.
David Ellis
10 Posted 05/09/2020 at 17:09:49
John Wilson #4 – nice spot, I think you are technically quite right but in modern usage “they” can apply to things not just people. Also a handy gender-neutral singular.
Paul Birmingham
11 Posted 05/09/2020 at 17:16:51
Great news about signing Allan, and hope fully the start of a new beginning and real hope and optimism for this season.
Christy Ring
12 Posted 05/09/2020 at 17:27:06
Good article, Lyndon, and if he's anything like Fernandinho, he'll be a gem, especially as he's still flying it at 35.
Steve Ferns
13 Posted 05/09/2020 at 17:29:58

I agree Allan was better for Sarri. He moved Allan ahead of the more attack-minded Jorginho. Sarri's idea was to have Jorginho in a position to get on the ball deeper and to initiate the attacks and for Fabian and Allan to defend higher up the pitch and win the ball in dangerous positions.

Allan is not a great passer, but he's competent and he kept the ball moving quickly for Sarri. By winning the ball in dangerous positions he was also able to get goals and assists.

My takeaway from this is the slow attack-minded Jorginho is not a million miles from André Gomes. If Allan plays the way he did for Sarri, then Gomes is behind him and Doucouré alongside him as they defend higher up the pitch.

Ancelotti kept things how Sarri left them, and changed things slowly. It was the early part of the first season that was better for Napoli, and where I believe Allan played well, even without Jorginho, who left with Sarri for Chelsea.

It remains to be seen what Carlo will do and If we will in fact confirm the other two imminent transfers. Allan is very keen to link up with Ancelotti and I think Carlo has spelled out a plan to him. But today's 4-4-2 does not fit in with the above. There's been no real signs of a shift to 4-3-3 in pre-season.

Michael O'Malley
14 Posted 05/09/2020 at 17:38:02
I'm made up with this signing but I really want James to sign ASAP as he is the one I'm really looking forward to watching.
Conor McCourt
15 Posted 05/09/2020 at 17:52:26
Lyndon, I am not a big fan of the Italian League and it's only the Premier League and Bundesliga that I watch lots of matches but I do keep up with what's going on and have a mate who supports them.

Allan was in the winning team only three times under Carlo in the league this season and continued to struggle under Gattuso like the rest of the team. Napoli have won 12 of their last 18 games since but I think that's as much to do with the mess Ancelotti left them in than a reflection of Gattuso not getting the best out of Allan.

As to your new assertion where you throw Rodriguez into the mix, I don't dispute that he played some of his best stuff under the Italian, my issue was your suggestion Allan did when this has been by all accounts his worst season since he came to Italy.

You now argue "they wouldn't be joining us if they didn't think so themselves". To me this is more conjecture. Of course the Brazilian would want to work with Ancelotti, a man who he likes and admires, he will be guaranteed football with little pressure, we are daft enough to give a 3-year contract even though he is 30 in January and he will be getting 𧴜k a week which he wouldn't get in Italy.

Patrick McFarlane
16 Posted 05/09/2020 at 18:03:01
Conor #15,

I read today that Conte wanted him at Milan, but couldn't afford him and that Atletico Madrid was interested too. They may prove to be unsubstantiated rumours; however, until the player has at least worn an Everton jersey in battle. Wouldn't it be fairer to judge him on what he does, rather than on what we'll think he'll do?

Christy Ring
17 Posted 05/09/2020 at 18:52:01
Conor#15 I believe Allan and hopefully Doucoure and James, will be great signings. The Italian press thought highly of Allan, he offers us something we haven't got, a tackling midfielder. He's 29, and as for his salary, Mina and Bernard are on £120k, and Sigurdsson £100k and Delph £80k, that's what you call a total waste of money.
Conor McCourt
18 Posted 05/09/2020 at 19:10:05
Patrick and Christy,

I will support any player when he puts on the blue shirt regardless of previous thoughts but it doesn't mean if reports are correct that I will jump for joy at the club spending Seventy million which is most likely dead money, won't in my opinion further our ambitions, could mean we stockpile more deadwood, on essentially lame racehorses that need rejuvenating.

With those funds we could have cornered the market for someone like Jack Grealish, had a player who would transform us, a guaranteed success who would perform straight away and possibly for the next decade were we able to match his ambitions.

So far everything that I was worried about in appointing Carlo has come to fruition but until now there were no long term consequences. However with these types of signings I can only see damage to the club.

Brian Williams
19 Posted 05/09/2020 at 19:21:45
One player transform us? You've got to be joking. Either that or you didn't watch our midfield stink the place out last season.
Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 05/09/2020 at 19:25:47
Lots of talk about Allan and Rodríguez coming to play for Ancelotti, and we wouldn't have got them unless Carlo was manager. Then I start reading about the wages they will, supposedly, get, and doubts start seeping into my head.

I'm trying, hard, to stay positive, but money is a big persuader!!

Bill Gienapp
21 Posted 05/09/2020 at 19:44:56
"... we are daft enough to give a 3-year contract..."

What would you have offered him, month-to-month? Brands got him far cheaper – and on a shorter deal – than any of us were initially anticipating. But why let that get in the way of the rant you clearly had lined up and ready to go?

Joe McMahon
22 Posted 05/09/2020 at 19:58:56
Conor - I think it's actually a good deal.
Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 05/09/2020 at 20:00:10
I'm not sure that one player could transform the current Everton team Conor, but hopefully three can!
Conor McCourt
24 Posted 05/09/2020 at 20:00:22
Bill I'm apportioning no blame to Brands. I was suggesting the offer of the 3-year contract will have been a major reason in choosing Everton.
Mark Frere
25 Posted 05/09/2020 at 20:41:19
Conor McCourt, you still haven't answered Bill's question @21. What length contract do you think Allan should've been offered?

He's 29, which will make him 32 in 3 years time... the same age as Gareth Barry when he first came here on loan. Personally, I would have liked the option to extend to a fourth year written into the contract.

Do you honestly think (if the rumours are true) that Atletico Madrid or Inter Milan (or any other buying club for that matter) would've offered Allan less than a 3-year contract?

Conor McCourt
26 Posted 05/09/2020 at 20:59:00
Mark, I don't want the player so zero would be the answer. I would have no problem with the length of the deal if this player was a guaranteed success. Other clubs will have refused the fee, the wages or the length of contract without a loan to buy.

If anyone truly believes he refused Juventus and Inter Milan, considering he has won nothing in his club career, in order to be with Carlo, then that's their prerogative.

Michael Barrett
27 Posted 05/09/2020 at 21:04:16
Connor, do you think he is an improvement over Tom Davies?
Fran Mitchell
28 Posted 05/09/2020 at 21:04:19
An immense signing.

We could moan at his age, sell-on value etc etc. But he will bring something that has been sorely lacking from our midfield: presence, courage, and energy.

All year players could essentially waltz through our midfield without the slightest of problems. We couldn't press, we couldn't tackle, we couldn't close down... nothing. And this destroyed the whole team, we dropped ever deeper, the wide players were drawn inwards because the midfielders just couldn't give us a chance to hold any shape.

Allen will provide energy, impetuous, and dynamism to our midfield. He may not create a million chances, nor score, but his being there will give the other players a better chance of doing so.

Doucouré should complete that transformation. I feel we'll then play with a 3, and the battle will commence between Davies, Gomes and Iwobi to get that 3rd starting place.

I don't expect any huge leaps into Champions League just yet, but a competent team performance would be a huge improvement on recent seasons.

Brent Stephens
29 Posted 05/09/2020 at 21:14:46
Not sure I'm bothered about sell-on value.

If we end up wanting to sell somebody before their contract ends (and once the contract ends, he's a free agent), it's either because they've been a complete failure or conversely they've been a massive success.

If they've been a failure, then there isn't going to be much sell-on value. If they've been a massive success, I wouldn't want to get rid.

Mark Frere
30 Posted 05/09/2020 at 21:16:35
Well Conor, the Napoli chairman (Aurelio De Laurentiis) has recently stated he made a mistake not selling Allan to PSG (you know... that tiny skint French team which played in the Champions League Final recently) for 㿨 million a year ago.

But of course it's your prerogative if you believe teams like Juventus or Inter Milan etc are just not interested in this crap Brazilian international.

Dan Nulty
31 Posted 05/09/2020 at 21:19:24
I think it is a fair point, Conor, but these signings aren't for the next 10 years, they are to try and improve us immediately. Grealish would not solve every problem we have in midfield. Probably wouldn't come to us anyway given we aren't a massive improvement on Villa as it stands.

I'm not going to get carried away by any of these three however they do, on paper, improve our midfield considerably. Seeing is believing though I'll leave it until I've watched a few games before judging.

James Morgan
32 Posted 05/09/2020 at 22:02:19
Exactly what we need, sick of hearing about resale value, we need a proven tried and tested bulldog in the middle and if he helps us up the table by five places then that's about £12 million quid more in the coffers. Carlo may only be here for three or four seasons, we need players that will be in their prime during this time. Not every player has to be 23.
Neil Copeland
33 Posted 05/09/2020 at 22:14:50
For what it's worth, James was with Allan in the stands watching today's game. His signing can only be a matter of time surely?
Martin Berry
34 Posted 05/09/2020 at 22:37:02
Will Allan by the "key" to Evertons midfield problems.
Watching the you tube clips this lad is not short of skill to go with his motor.
Geoff Lambert
35 Posted 05/09/2020 at 22:52:19
Yes lets get Jack Grealish to transform our midfield, Got a big laugh from me for that one.
And what if he did come and live up to the expectation? How long would he hang around when the top clubs came calling?
Paul Birmingham
36 Posted 05/09/2020 at 23:00:10
Let's get reasonable and take with tact what we all know, and have seen in our time, and that in any successful football team across time, it's the secret of getting the right chemistry with the players and blending, all their skills and attributes to the better cause of the team, coupled with hard work, belief, graft and guts. With the right manager of the team.

Rome, nor success was'nt built over night, but some would want instant success, over night, and some can't see any hope, if instant success is not achieved.

You earn the right to play on the Park, and this where EFC, are starting from, now.

As we've had no midfield of effect for years, albeit a couple of individual midfield success, but as a unit, nothing.

Success isn't instant anywhere unless your very lucky. Please give some realism, to what's expected and could be achieved, but EFC, will at least have a proper squad, this season, led by a proven, player, and manager.

So let's consider, who, where we are, and want to go.

Reality check, but the club is trying to rebuild.

Seriously, when your in that Creek, we've all been in, in the course of life, you don't wait for meals from Harrods, and Pennies from Heaven. You dig in.

Fair play to Marcel, and The EFC Board, if these transfers all come off.

Talk about resale value in context is interesting, as it will be proven, if the team is successful. So play and support for success now.

All to their own values and views, which are respected, but we want a successful team on the Park, the commercial and player resale values, would follow.

Time to get behind EFC, and support, like as ever, as this is gonna be our next time, else God knows, when.

Fran Mitchell
37 Posted 05/09/2020 at 23:01:45
Conor, suggesting Grealish would 'transform' the team is ridiculous. Grealish is a good player, but jesus he ain't near as good as you seem to think.

But I guess after months of going laughing at fans who suggested Carlo could attract better players than Duncan Ferguson, I guess you need something to moan about.

There are no guarantees in football, but a 3 year contract for a 29 year old seems very reasonable. Fernandinho, Silva, Barry, Milner are just a few examples of central midfielders who thrive well into their thirties.

Yes, Allen has been bought for the here and now, and at 29 is in the prime of his career.

Our midfield was easily walked through last season, time and time again and it badly needs 2 reinforcements. Carlo seems to have identified that issue, and gone for 2 players to solve that issue.

Where would Grealish come in? He is an attacking midfielder. A winger. Maybe a no10. He ain't a box he ain't a ball winner. He ain't anything that we desperately need, especially at his 60+ million price.

Dave Williams
38 Posted 05/09/2020 at 23:09:16
With his off- field problems of the last few years Grealish would have been a far greater risk than a seasoned and established pro like Allan!
Paul Birmingham
39 Posted 05/09/2020 at 23:18:47
In our plight we don't need Grealish, he's a good player, but all in all, we need a Dirty Dozen, to get EFC, out, at this time, we need a proven set of players to upgrade this squad, which bar Acts Of God, will happen.

Grit, fight, and proven flair, rather, than potential, to the enquired, as EFC, is in a very tough street fight, in context of staying in the mix in EPL, terms.

On to a result at Spurs, fekk, the rest.

Andrew Ellams
40 Posted 05/09/2020 at 23:40:32
Grealish is going nowhere because managers at the top clubs won't take the risk over his behaviour.
Daniel A Johnson
41 Posted 05/09/2020 at 23:50:04
Allan will set the aggression benchmark.

I hope by him leading by example it will rub off on the people around him.

If Doucoure signs our midfield starts to look a bit gnarly all of sudden. We have lacked a combative aggressive midfielder for a while now and as a result we've been a soft touch and often get overrun in midfield.

Christy Ring
42 Posted 05/09/2020 at 23:50:14
Conor, always liked your thread, I think Grealish is class, but our problem is, we are totally lacking a defensive midfielder, that's why we needed Allan.
Nicholas Ryan
43 Posted 06/09/2020 at 02:09:52
[Almost] all Evertonians thought Idrissa Gueye was a superb player. He went to PSG a year ago. Unless my memory is playing tricks, that was just after PSG had offered £60millin for Allan, but Napoli refused to sell [which the owner now regrets]. It doesn't take a genius to work out, that PSG appear to have bought Gueye because the £60m Allan wasn't available. Surely that should kill any arguments that he isn't good enough, stone dead!

P.S. the French press at the time, said that PSG were proposing to sell Julian Draxler to Spurs for £40m to fund the purchase of Allan.

Mike Gaynes
44 Posted 06/09/2020 at 04:09:24
Interesting info, Nicholas. Great post.
Jerome Shields
45 Posted 06/09/2020 at 04:49:35

Guyere was a good player at Everton in comparison to those around him at that time, which included defensive players. His strength was his high tackle rate without injury , but his one obvious weakness was to try unsuccessful long passes, which I though was because he had to defend so deep and being unsupported playing for Everton.

There was often a chorus on ToffeeWeb who wanted him gone, but others who thought that if he were gone that the midfield would collapse, which it did.

I personally though that when he went to PSG his passing would come into focus and would say he has had problems as PSG as a result.

In the meantime Evertons defence has improved and the collapsed midfield is being partly sorted, hopefully starting with PSG first choice Allan who is better at passing the ball, than Guyere

Thank you for letting me know about PSG interest at that time, which I was unaware of. Guyere won't be coming back to Everton.

Bill Watson
46 Posted 06/09/2020 at 05:29:56
Conor #18,

"With those funds we could have cornered the market for someone like Jack Grealish, had a player who would transform us... "

Just like he transformed Villa? Grealish is a 'luxury' player and exactly what we don't need at the moment.

Conor McCourt
47 Posted 06/09/2020 at 07:25:59
Fran, if you want to spout utter bullshit, that's up to you. I never wanted Ferguson as manager. I clearly stated I wanted Pochettino or Arteta. As usual, people like yourself throw Darren Hind and myself together because we are seen as the Anti-Carlo brigade.

I don't recall even arguing with anyone whether Carlo would attract players or not, let alone laugh at them. My opposition to him was about his methods improving us and whether he would bring success with his outdated approach.

Fran, the word 'transform' may have been wrong but my point was only that, for the money we are paying, that's the quality we could sign who would massively improve us. I find it rich of you to be critiquing me about the impact Grealish would make in terms of balance of the team when, after selling Gana and not retaining Zouma and signing the likes of Delph and Iwobi, you were confidently predicting a top six finish this season.

I hope that everyone in this thread will be right and he will be an amazing player for us and I will happily eat humble pie.

Personally, having watched him over the years, I still don't know what he is; much like Iwobi or Bernard, he is certainly not a defensive midfielder. Those jumping on the Brazilian International boast, well he has 9 caps so we aren't exactly signing Dunga. Our own Jo has 20 in a more competitive team.

When PSG wanted the player, Napoli had finished 2nd in their league for the previous two seasons; this season, he has had a poor campaign... so I doubt any of these big clubs have been competing against us after he has been struggling in a mid-table team in a mediocre Italian League.

Steve Brown
48 Posted 06/09/2020 at 07:32:13
Unfair to criticise a player before he has even pulled on a pair of football boots. A bit like writing off one of the most successful managers in history before he had the chance to sign a player or hold a pre-season.

Also, the claim that he only joined us because of the offer of a 3-year contract – evidence? He did turn down interest from Dortmund and Atletico Madrid to join us. Also, as Nicholas @ 44, he was the focus of interest from PSG who only switched to Gueye because of Allan's valuation by Napoli. But, let's not allow facts to get in the way of someone's own internal narrative.

Ancelotti might not be successful at Everton and Allan might prove to be a poor signing, but I suggest those who are determined to argue they will fail before they are given a chance perhaps wait and see. Results will decide.

Mike Gaynes
49 Posted 06/09/2020 at 08:04:53
Fran #38, agreed on Grealish... but it wasn't Conor who was so derisive of Carlo's ability to attract big-name players. It was another old friend we know well.

Update: Oops, sorry, was reading from top to bottom and didn't see that Conor had already refuted that charge. No intent to pile on.

Conor McCourt
50 Posted 06/09/2020 at 09:34:36
Steve, yes I really do worry about where we are going with these signings, as Martin O'Connor's excellent piece echoes my thoughts. You can dismiss these fears easily as, no matter what Carlo does, it seems to be met with approval and justification and little analysis, just harping back to yesteryear.

Take Martin's real fears about what we were promised under Brands. Your immediate response was to theorise that we need experience to back up Ancelotti's wishes to go against the policy outlined for the club and that our failures last season were because of signing prospects rather than ready-made players.

Firstly we struggled due to the two players we let go and the experience and quality brought in not being up to scratch. Only Kean was a signing that wasn't ready-made and Delph was bought for that purpose.

Now we clearly struggled because of a poor window; we had to rely on inexperienced players like Holgate, Davies and Gordon yet they coped admirably. However, if you look at the predicted starting line-up without the three amigos for this season:

Pickford 26, Coleman 31, Keane 27, Holgate turning 24, Digne 27, Gomes 26, Richarlison 23, Calvert-Lewin 23.

The youngest player in that line up is the Brazilian who was 23 in May and these players have plenty of Premier League experience with the exception of Holgate.

To emphasise the point, of Leipzig's regular outfield starting line up which reached the Champions League semi-final only Sabitzer, Klostermann and Werner (26, 24, 24) are older than our youngest Richarlison.

In my opinion, our team is lacking quality, balance, intensity and leadership – not experience and I'm not sure more aged players will address any of these deficiencies. I do agree Allan will indeed bring presence and Rodriguez certainly doesn't lack quality... but whether he will still able to produce it is anyone's guess.

Conor McCourt
51 Posted 06/09/2020 at 09:45:55
Sorry, Coleman 31.
Steve Brown
52 Posted 06/09/2020 at 10:53:53
Conor @ 50, I posted that we focused on the acquisition of younger players over the last two summer transfer windows to supplement young players developed through the Academy - I support this. But, the senior players in the squad - Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Coleman (sadly), Delph - have not shown the right quality, leadership or attitude to help these prospects advance. Therefore, my point is that it is right to augment them with senior players and, yes, leadership does come with experience in my opinion.

As for them being 'aged' players, James is 29 years old), Allan is 29 years old and Doucoure is 27 years old so I don't think that they are too old. I also don't honestly think Jack Grealish is the answer to any question we have about the squad.

But, I always find your posts patient, calm and measured even when I don't agree with most of them. So let's see how it plays out.

Conor McCourt
53 Posted 06/09/2020 at 11:07:20
Good man, Steve.
David Cash
54 Posted 06/09/2020 at 12:22:06
I'm afraid Dave @20 is bang on the money. Nothing has changed really. We are still signing players because we are prepared to pay them far bigger wages than anybody else would pay them.

I have seen a lot of this guy. He is a good tenacious player but I'm slightly underwhelmed. Anybody expecting the "new Peter Reid" is in for a major disappointment. He's not in that class.

Signing players who have their best days behind them may see us climb a couple of places, but it will not see us trouble the top group. Not even in the short term if they are not from the very top draw.

If Jack Grealish went up for sale, he would fetch about four times as much. Not just because he's younger, but because he has far more talent.

A decent signing but one I would welcome with an outstretched hand rather than a blast of the trumpet.

Brent Stephens
55 Posted 06/09/2020 at 12:32:15
David #54 "We are still signing players because we are prepared to pay them far bigger wages than anybody else would pay them."

While I dare say the wages are part of it, surely also a significant factor now is the pulling power of Carlo himself.

Bobby Mallon
56 Posted 06/09/2020 at 15:36:34

Jack Grealish will not get bought by a top 6 team because he is just another Fancy Dan. He will stay at Aston Villa forever.

Steve Shave
57 Posted 06/09/2020 at 16:15:57
Carlo stated yesterday that Allan is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. I guess that ends the debate between Steve F and Sam.

It seems we have bought a player with some versatility that can sit back as a 6 or play box to box. Regardless, welcome, my man, I am with you all the way. Now let's get those other targets. I'm really hoping for outgoings too.

Sam Hoare
58 Posted 06/09/2020 at 16:29:28
Steve @57,

I'm not sure I ever said Allan was necessarily a defensive midfielder strictly speaking but I did disagree with Steve Ferns when he said he wasn't much of a tackler!

Allan has played a lot as a box-to-box player but he's always put a lot of tackles in and was used by Ancelloti in a slightly less-advanced role than under Sarri.

Allan will not necessarily sit and screen the back 4 (though I think he could) but he will go out and hunt the ball, which is what I remember Gueye doing for us; though Steve (and I think Conor McCourt) rejected this comparison.

Hopefully, Allan's dynamism and versatility will mean Carlo can play him in a couple of roles, with either 3 in the middle or 2.

Steve Shave
59 Posted 06/09/2020 at 16:42:09
Fair play, Sam, if what you say is accurate, then it potentially tells us quite a lot about the way Carlo wants to set up this season.

I don't think we need to replace Gana if we are playing these systems. Doucoure, Allan (and maybe Gbamin) can fortify the midfield slightly further up the pitch well I hope so anyway.

I think we will go in for a new right-back, I'm less sure we will now be after a centre-back and a right-midfielder. I wouldn't be surprised if we only signed one more after our new Holy Trinity, maybe that will be a loan.

Carl Manning
60 Posted 06/09/2020 at 18:52:56
I think what we're seeing is the management structure realizing the need for massive improvement in the first team immediately. Hence seemingly changing and going towards more established players than first thought.

Yet also bringing in a couple of youngsters who have shown glimpses they may become top class in to the first team set up. Brands has brought in Gibson, Branthwaite and the new French lad who seems to have something about him. How much did they cost combined? ٤M?

As for Grealish, there's a reason he's still at Aston Villa and Man Utd bought a player from a far inferior league for 㿔M thinking he was a better bet.

Geoff Lambert
61 Posted 06/09/2020 at 22:21:38

The lad is not easy to knock off the ball. Nice little YouTube link, I hope he works like this for us.

Jay Wood

62 Posted 06/09/2020 at 23:21:37
I always sit out the speculation, rumours, out-and-out lies and angst during transfer windows. I prefer to wait and see the player in the photo shoot wearing the shirt and signing the contract before commenting.

Allan is a good signing. I've been really puzzled by people saying in recent days that he is not a good tackler, is technically limited and, of course, ‘old'.

Conor in particular seems all over the shop in his assessment of the player, bracketing him as someone who ‘won't further our ambitions', making a bizarre comparison to Jo on the number of Brazilian caps won, whilst also saying he doesn't watch much Italian Serie A football but emboldened enough to say ‘having watched him over the years, I still don't know what he is.'

Well, this is what he is. And if he brings his ‘A' game to Everton, I am confident he will become a crowd favourite.

He is not an out-and-out defensive midfielder, but can drop in there as the game situation demands. There is more to his game than that. He is high energy. Plays between the two boxes well. Tactically astute. He reads the game well. He can seek-and-destroy and put out fires before they start.

His short game is excellent. He is an absolute terrier in competing for the ball. Think Bobby Collins and Alan Ball. In winning the ball or retaining it, seemingly surrounded in tight areas, it is astonishing how many times he comes out with the ball.

Medium height and stocky, he has a particular technique that helps him first win then retain the ball. Somehow, he gets between the player and the ball and with his hip, thigh or backside; he makes it difficult for the opponent to retain or win the ball back from him.

Once he gets the ball, his International manager Tite describes him well as having ‘rodinha no pé' – ‘wheels on his feet'. That is, he is very nimble on the ball. Tite also described Allan as ‘dynamic'. Carlo spoke in the same terms after the Preston game yesterday.

He will get in and around the opposition penalty area much more than Gana Gueye ever did and – as already mentioned – his short game is excellent. Expect to see him slide in some really telling passes, even Ronaldinho-like, with blind ‘look-the-other-way' passes a defence doesn't expect.

But the biggest reason I anticipate him becoming a Goodison favourite is his commitment. He only plays with one thing in mind. To win. Not just the game, but every tackle, header, throw-in, corner, free-kick.

He will be better with supporters in attendance and we will be better with him in the team.

As for Conor's throwaway line about how few Brazilian caps he has won as opposed to Jo, a couple of points:

1) In his entire career, he has been competing for a place in the Brazilian team with the likes of Real Madrid's Casimiro and Man City's Fernandinho. As good as Allan is, who would be your first picks of those 3 players?

2) Jo plays an entirely different position to Allan. Yes, he won 20 caps to Allan's 9. And…? 17 of those 20 caps came in two years, 2013-14, under former Brazilian manager Felipe Scolari. He featured in the Confederation Cup in 2013 then in the Brazilian World Cup of the following year.

Of course, all the attention and hope was on the Wunderkind, Neymar Jr, to carry Brazil to success. But wiser judges were concerned that Brazil fielded arguably their weakest strike force ever at a World Cup in Jo and the waning Fred. The pair got one goal between them at Brazil 2014.

Jo was never again selected for Brazil by any manager since 2014.

Finally, like other posters, I can't agree with Conor's idea that we could benefit more from spending the 㿲 million budget he quotes on landing the three well-publicised targets by going for the single ‘transformational' signing of Jack Grealish.

That smacks of Fantasy Football Manager to me.

David Cash
63 Posted 07/09/2020 at 07:47:42

If we didn't offer more than anyone else was prepared to, they would not have sold him to us.

Allan is on the back of some really poor performances. At this stage of his career, he was not expecting somebody to come along and offer him a big pay rise. Of course he was going to sign.

I'm a big fan of Carlo, but "Pulling power"? In today's game? Too much money involved, mate.

Sorry but, in my opinion, Dave Abraham's argument is far more convincing than yours. This is a decent player, but not a top one.

Once Carlo has us in a more prominent position, we may not be held to ransom as easily as we are now. In the meantime, we will continue to pay well over what other clubs are prepared to pay. The only pulling power we have these days is Moshiri"s wallet.

Brent Stephens
64 Posted 07/09/2020 at 10:38:43
David #63 I've acknowledged the pulling power of the money he's on, like you. I just don't think that the ONLY pulling power is Moshiri's money, as you say.
Dan Nulty
65 Posted 07/09/2020 at 11:20:27
Brent, I'm not sure you are completely correct regarding Allan being dropped for poor performances.

He was actually dropped for 'walking in training'. This after not being happy that Carlo was sacked in the first place, leading a player strike and being refused a transfer to PSG and then Milan.

Given we have then signed him for a third of what PSG offered and only €4M more than we offered in January (having been quoted €40M), I'm not sure in this instance it was money that was the attraction. Playing, being wanted by his manager and club and the Premier League were probably the biggest attraction. I think our bargaining power was that the player clearly said it was Everton or nowhere and left Napoli with no real bargaining power as they wanted him off the books.

You only have to listen to the Lille owner talking about having to sell players to Arsenal for less money than offered elsewhere (because the players, Pepe and Gabriel, were adamant they wanted to go there and nowhere else) to see that player power is absolute.

I genuinely think this guy is going to become a cult hero for us pretty quickly.

Dan Nulty
66 Posted 07/09/2020 at 11:21:05
Sorry meant Dave, not Brent.
Brent Stephens
67 Posted 07/09/2020 at 11:51:49
No probs, Dan.
David Cash
68 Posted 07/09/2020 at 13:46:31

I didn't mention Allan being dropped. In fact I don't believe he was. I think he suffered several niggling injuries.

I don't go for sensational newspaper rumours, certainly not ones that suggest PSG offered 60m for him. Napoli would have snatched their hand off.
I do hope you are right though and he becomes an Instant cult hero. Heaven knows we need one. If he grabs the winner against Liverpool, the fee we paid would suddenly look chicken feed.
I May even have a couple of quid on him to bag a debut goal.


I do take your point. I just feel we could sign players without Carlo, but we couldn't do it without the money

Brent Stephens
69 Posted 07/09/2020 at 14:43:59
David, yes ur right we still need to be able to offer enough money.

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