After arriving from Udinese in the summer of the 2015, Allan had become one of the stalwarts of the Napoli midfield, but it is becoming increasingly likely that Brazilian might not remain with the Partenopei much longer.
The Neapolitan club acquired holding midfielders Diego Demme from RB Leipzig as well as Stanislav Lobotka from Spanish club Celta Vigo in January to add some solidity in the middle of the park and the German in particular is already leaving an impression.
With the 28-year-old being utilised by new Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso, there is less need for the Ciucciarelli to hold onto Allan in the long term.
Although the Brazilian is no longer known for operating purely as a midfield destroyer, being a ball-winner was one of his strengths when he transferred from Udinese. Under Coach Maurizio Sarri, he became a box-to-box midfielder that was capable of breaking opposition attacks as well as making runs from deep positions.
2019 was arguably the most disappointing year of Allan’s career so far. A reported transfer to French giants Paris Saint-Germain did not eventuate, and he was the apparent ringleader of the revolt against Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who had ordered the team to go in ritiro in November.
The Brazilian featured regularly under Gattuso’s predecessor Carlo Ancelotti but the switch from the 4-4-2 formation to 4-3-3 has prompted a shuffle in the midfield structure as well as the roles of the players.
Under Sarri, Allan was an all-round midfielder, Jorginho dictated play from deep, and Marek Hamsik was the advanced playmaker. In the current Napoli set-up, Gattuso has technicians like Fabian Ruiz and Piotr Zielinski in midfield, thus there is a need for a screening midfielder like Demme.
After he came off in the 2-0 defeat to Fiorentina, the Brazilian has not featured for the Partenopei since due to a muscular injury, and Demme has made the most of his opportunities.
Napoli have won their last three competitive matches without Allan; a 1-0 victory against Lazio in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, a surprising 2-1 win against Juventus in Serie A, and a 4-2 triumph away to Sampdoria in the league on Monday evening.
Demme played the whole match against the Biancocelesti, featured for 69 minutes against the Bianconeri, and made a super-sub impact against the Blucerchiati. He was impressive against Juve with his ball-winning, excellent positional play, and effective passing and he became the unlikely hero with his goal against Samp.
Aside from being the goal that put Napoli 3-2 up against Sampdoria, the German’s strike was significant for other reasons. Demme’s father Vincenzo originated from Calabria in southern Italy but supported the Partenopei and idolised club hero Diego Maradona.
The former RB Leipzig midfielder was named after the Argentine legend and scored his first goal in Italian football at the same ground where his namesake scored his last one for the Neapolitans in 1991 and against the same opponent.
Now that Demme is being integrated into the team as well as Lobotka and North Macedonian playmaker Eljif Elmas featuring occasionally, it seems that space for Allan is becoming limited even when he returns to full fitness.
The Brazilian was linked with a move to English Premier League side Everton but that was not completed and De Laurentiis has made shrewd reinforcements in midfield for the present and the future.
If Demme in particular can maintain his impressive start, then there is little need for Allan.