Italy are reportedly keen to call Brazil-born Napoli midfielder Allan up for international duty
Jorginho and Allan have plenty in common.
Both were born in Brazil. Jorginho was raised in Imbituba, a coastal town in the south, while Allan was born in Rio de Janeiro.
Both ply their trade in the middle of the pitch. Jorginho dictates the rhythm of the game with the composure of a man reared in a sleepy port town while Allan displays all the hustle and bustle you’d expect from a Rio street footballer.
Both also understand the fervent pressure that comes with wearing the shirt of Napoli. Jorginho spent five seasons at the club before Chelsea came calling while Allan is currently in his third year in Naples, having joined from fellow Serie A side Udinese in 2015.
Another link is on the horizon. The pair could soon be sharing international allegiance, although Brazil’s loss will be Italy’s gain.
Jorginho moved to Italy at the age of 15, joining Verona’s academy. The dual Brazilian and Italian citizen had a decision to make. Represent the country of his birth or the country of his grandparent?
In the end he chose the latter, turning out for Italy. A 2016 friendly cap, earned under Antonio Conte, was the start of a stuttering international career that finally appears to be settling down.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini clearly appreciates the throwback playmaker, utilising him in the classical Italian regista role once effortlessly carried out by Andrea Pirlo.
Unlike Jorginho, Allan has experience of turning out for Brazil at international level.
He won the Under-20 World Cup with Brazil in 2011, playing twice.
Of the 23-man squad, Gabriel, Danilo, Bruno Uvini, Juan Jesus, Fernando, Sandro, Dudu, Casemiro, Coutinho and Oscar have since gone on to earn full honours.
But Allan remains uncapped, despite impressing in Serie A with Udinese and, now, Napoli. Which is where Italy come in.
A mystery ‘distant relative’ could see Allan pledge allegiance to the flag of Italia, with reports out of Italy claiming Mancini has made a personal request to convince the midfielder to turn his back on Brazil.
It’s not a lack of talent that has seen Allan left in the Brazilian shadows. He’s a combative midfielder whose technical talents make him a perfect fit for the modern midfield unit.
It’s a case of fierce competition. Fernandinho and Casemiro both carry out a similar role for two of Europe’s best clubs.
Fred’s move to Man United has seen his stock rise, albeit without the performances to match, while Arthur, a different deep-lying proposition, continues to settle in to the prospect of being Xavi’s heir at Barcelona.
Italy have looked to the likes of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Roberto Gagliardini for balance in midfield, but they aren’t yet of Allan’s ability.
The prospect of a midfield trio of Allan, Jorginho and Marco Verratti is a tantalising one which displays control, bite and guile.
Time is of the essence, for both Italy and Brazil. The longer Allan remains out of Tite’s thoughts, the closer Allan gets to joining his former Napoli team-mate in ignoring yellow in favour of blue.
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