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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.

Manchester United

Elseid Hysaj would be perfect replacement for Antonio Valencia at Manchester United

The Napoli defender reportedly has a £44 million release clause.

Jake Jackman

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Elseid Hysaj
Photo: Getty Images

Manchester United are facing a huge summer as they attempt to close the gap on local rivals Manchester City and emerge as title contenders next season.

Jose Mourinho will be looking to strengthen in key areas and a new right-back will be high on his agenda.

Antonio Valencia has been a solid operator since moving to the position a few years ago, but at the age of 32, he is reaching the end of his career and a long-term replacement needs to be sourced.

There has been speculation linking the Red Devils with Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj. The first link came from The Sun earlier this month, who suggested that United were prepared to pay his £44 million release clause.

It is thought that Matteo Darmian is going to join Juventus and the funds brought in by that transfer could be used to bring a player in from Serie A.

Napoli came close to securing a historic Scudetto this season and Hysaj was one of their most consistent performers.

His development has been tied to the career of Maurizio Sarri, having worked with the Italian coach at both Empoli and Napoli. Like Valencia, he is an attack-minded full-back who looks to attack at every opportunity.

Over this most recent season, he was the player to offer width down the right-hand side with Jose Callejon looking to provide support for Dries Mertens in the centre.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Hysaj only got one assist during the Serie A season, but his pass success rate of 86.9% shows how important he was in possession. He rarely gave the ball away and often picked a forward pass to move Napoli further up the pitch.

At times, Hysaj operates as an extra midfielder with his diligent passes and positioning when Napoli don’t have the ball.

His tactical awareness and flexibility make him a useful player to have on the pitch, as there is an opportunity to change his role as a match develops.

Mourinho is known for playing percentage football and Hysaj would have to adapt to that, as it won’t be a style that mimics Napoli’s.

However, the Albanian international is a reliable defender and would be able to contribute in his own half of the pitch. Last season, he averaged three ball recoveries and 1.6 clearances in the league.

He will benefit from working under a defensive coach and a move to the Premier League would appeal to him at this stage of his career.

Hysaj has grown up as a player in Italy and his style reflects that, but at the age of 24, he can still develop and a new league would be beneficial. Manchester United remain one of the biggest clubs in the world and they are slowly re-emerging as a force to be reckoned with under Mourinho.

During recent seasons, their recruitment has focused on signing players with name value rather than those that fit the needs of the squad. They now need to change that and recruit the players that will complement the talent.

Hysaj would be a good signing in this regard, as he would offer an upgrade on Valencia and could be the right-back for years to come.

United need to be building for the long-term and the Albanian could represent value for money as he will only get better.

He is one of the most promising full-backs in Europe and it would be a signal of intent if Mourinho manages to bring him to Old Trafford this summer.

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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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