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Is Napoli’s Allen poised for a move to the Premier League this summer?

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Allan

According to reports from The Sun early on Tuesday morning, Premier League rivals Newcastle, Southampton and West Brom are currently in a three-way tussle for promising Napoli man Allan.

The 26-year-old midfielder has been a first-team regular for the Italian outfit for the past few seasons and has impressed, but it is understood that Napoli are now happy to listen to offers.

And the report believes that a formal bid in the region of £10 million could be enough to persuade them into selling, with Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez keen to steal a march on his top-flight rivals.

Would the Brazilian adapt to the Premier League?

At 26 years of age, and after two-seasons spent playing regular football – domestically and in the Champions League – for Napoli, there is no doubt that Allan has a wealth of experience to bring.

The Brazilian, who had a lengthy spell at fellow Serie A side Udinese prior to his switch, is incredibly versatile in the middle of the park and is able to play deep, sitting defensively, or as a playmaker too.

And this could hugely benefit either of the three Premier League sides interested in him as he’s able to break down the play consistently in the middle third and set his side off again; and, according to the report in The Sun, Benitez himself believes that his Italian top-flight experience will help him settle in England.

Unlike the stereotype for defensive midfielders that people have become used to he’s not afraid to push further forward, dribbling past the opposition with intent and adding good tempo to an attack.

His Brazilian heritage makes him a very intelligent and tricky midfielder to play against too, hence why he plays his football with an attacking frame of mind, but this could really work in the top-flight.

For the likes of Newcastle, Southampton and West Brom – three sides that will be primarily be looking to exceed their respective expectations this season – adding somebody with 14 games of Champions League experience would be a huge boost not just on the pitch, but in the dressing room.

Allan to the Premier League
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Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
At just £10 million for a player that has proven himself in one of Europe’s top five leagues, and in European competition, it is little surprise that there is a lot of interest growing from English teams. If the report is genuine and Napoli are prepared to let Allan leave this summer for the right price then it would be a great coup – and it seems that Benitez and Newcastle are now in the driving seat.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

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Manchester City

Three talking points from Manchester City’s impressive victory over Napoli

Jake Jackman

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Manchester City

The two meetings between Manchester City and Napoli were billed as must-watches when the Champions League draw was made. The first was entertaining and saw the Premier League side record a home victory, but today’s match at the San Paulo bettered it for spectacle and exciting football. The Serie A leaders started like a house on fire and took the lead after a spell of sustained pressure through Lorenzo Insigne. The visitors bounced back thanks to a Nicolas Otamendi header before half-time. From that stage, they controlled the game and looked the better side, earning a deserved 3-2 win to put them into the next round of the competition. Here are three talking points from the match:

Manchester City are good enough to win the Champions League

The Champions League campaign of the 2016/17 season was a disappointing one and marked Pep Guardiola’s worst in the competition. Manchester City competed well in the group stages, but fell to a defeat in the round of 16 to Monaco. The second leg will have frustrated the City boss as his side fell behind early and failed to react in a convincing fashion. On Wednesday, the early stages were reminiscent of the match at the Stade Louis II, but this time, the Citizens bounced back and got back on level terms before half-time.

After half-time, they kicked on and showed their dominance with some great football. It was important to get an early goal to put themselves into the lead and they showed their ability to react again after being pulled back to 2-2. Guardiola will be pleased by the way that the team managed the game after they scored the third. They kept the ball well and tired Napoli before adding a fourth. This performance sent a message to the rest of Europe. Manchester City are serious contenders for the Champions League.

Napoli are serious contenders for the Serie A title

The Italian team bounced back to the European stage at a similar time to Manchester City and these two sides played out two great matches during the 2011/12 season. Napoli came out on top and qualified for the round of 16 on that occasion. Since then, the Neopolitans have been trying to progress into a team capable of winning major honours. Their last Serie A title came in 1990 and there had been hope of breaking that duck in the near future.

This current Napoli team look the most ready to put an end to that run. Maurizio Sarri is one of the best coaches in Europe and comes from the Pep Guardiola school of football. The Manchester City praised his opposite number in the build-up to this match and he would have been left impressed by the football played by the Italians. They went toe-to-toe with the Premier League leaders and provided them with their toughest test of the season so far.

Guardiola understands the importance of set-pieces

The focus of this season has been the excellent brand of football being played by Manchester City. They are scoring a lot of goals and playing teams off the park on a weekly basis. However, Pep Guardiola hasn’t ignored the importance of set-pieces and they were responsible for the first two City goals on Wednesday. Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones both chipped in with goals and that will please their manager.

West Brom and sides like that have been criticised for their reliance on set-pieces, but the reason lesser teams choose to function on them is that they can be heavily practiced. It is possible to perform open play drills, but situations can’t be predicted from game to game. Set pieces can and Manchester City are clearly using them effectively to add to their goal threat.

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Liverpool

Would Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne be the ideal replacement for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho?

Rob Meech

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Lorenzo Insigne

Despite Jurgen Klopp having repeatedly insisted star player Philippe Coutinho is not for sale, Liverpool continue to be linked with a number of players who could replace the want-away Brazilian.

The latest addition to this ever-expanding list is Napoli playmaker Lorenzo Insigne who, according to the Mirror, is being tipped to swap Serie A for the Premier League. The 26-year-old is valued at £60 million by Napoli, although the Italian club have no desire to sell one of their prized assets.

Barcelona’s pursuit of Coutinho is the transfer saga of the summer and could go down to the wire. The Catalan giants have already had two bids rebuffed by the Reds, the second of which was believed to be £90 million. However, Neymar’s world-record move to Paris St-Germain has given the Catalan giants an enormous pot of money to spend and they appear determined to get their man.

The revelation that Coutinho has handed in a transfer request has weakened Liverpool’s position and an offer of more than £100m would be difficult to reject from a financial aspect. Having cost a measly £8.5 million from Inter Milan some four-and-a-half-years ago, it would represent a massive profit.

What would Lorenzo Insigne bring to Anfield?

Insigne has become a key figure at Napoli, helping them to a third-place finish in Serie A last season. He has made 37 domestic appearances in each of the past two campaigns and chipped in with 30 goals in that time. Insigne’s his tally of 18 last season come at a ratio of nearly one every other game – an impressive statistic for a midfielder.

Insigne’s style suits the technical brand of football Klopp has adopted at Liverpool. The Italy international, who played under Antonio Conte in the 2016 European Championship, is small in stature but capable of changing matches in an instant. He would be a welcome addition to the phalanx of creative, attacking midfielders at the Reds, such as Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane.

Any deal for Insigne hinges on the future of Coutinho. If he does complete his dream move to Barcelona, Klopp would have to bring in a replacement. Insigne would fit the bill in many aspects but, with Napoli determined not to sell, it may take an irresistible offer.

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Manchester City

Do Manchester City really need to be looking at signing Napoli’s Pepe Reina?

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Manchester City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks set to continue his busy summer over the next few weeks with the Mirror reporting that he has set his sights on veteran Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

It is understood that the Citizens have already had a formal offer in the region of £2.6 million rejected by the Italian side, but a bid closer to the £5 million mark could persuade them to sell up.

This news comes as BBC Sport report that out-of-favour shot-stopper Joe Hart has joined West Ham on a season-long loan deal after completing a medical on Monday night.

Would Reina be able to add much to the Etihad?

With Ederson Moraes already joining this summer from Benfica in a £35 million deal – with it imagined that Guardiola sees him as a first-choice – it seems bizarre to bring in another goalkeeper.

Add Claudio Bravo to the mix too, who only joined from Barcelona just last year, and it us really difficult to see why Manchester City would need three top-class goalkeepers in their rank for next campaign.

Ye,t if the above reports in the Mirror have any truth behind them, the addition of Reina could actually pave the way for Bravo to find a new side, after an extremely underwhelming debut season.

The Chilean international was the epitome of City’s defensive struggles for the majority of last season, always looking nervy with the ball at his feet and at one stage conceding 14 out of 22 shots on target faced. His inconsistency eventually saw him lose the number one role to Willy Caballero.

But, for Guardiola to bin Bravo off after just one season would be an incredibly harsh decision, especially considering that he would only be a back-up to Ederson next term.

Should he in fact leave, it’ isnot hard to see why Reina has been touted as the man to be City’s new number two – experienced in La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League, the 34-year-old pretty much knows the English top-flight like the back of his hand after making over 300 Liverpool appearances.

This means that, unlike Bravo, he is extremely comfortable coming off of his line and claiming a high ball, and his agility between the sticks hasn’t dwindled at all, despite his growing age.

Add to this his level-head, calm and composed leadership on the pitch and the impact that somebody of his experience has in the dressing room – after all, he has won both the European Championship and the World Cup with Spain in the last decade – and it could be a bargain bit of business for City.

Pepe Reina to Manchester City
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Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
As Manchester United showed last season with Sergio Romero there’s certainly benefits of having world-class number two’s in your ranks – particularly with four competitions to play for next season. A move for Reina would be harsh on Bravo, who hasn’t had many chances to redeem himself for a disappointing season, but for Guardiola to push for trophies next season he needs a proven back-up.
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