Serie A's most prolific tackler the perfect fit for Man United at €12m

Forza Udinese

Manchester United have seemingly missed out on Fredy Guarin, but should look to another Serie A standout.

The Colombian is the latest in a long line of midfielders linked with Old Trafford to end up in the clutches of a rival, with Chelsea reported to have all but secured the Inter man’s services from January forward.

It’s a phenomenon that’s become all too common for the Red Devils’ comfort, compounded by a true need for reinforcements in the centre of the park, as high-profile targets including Kevin Strootman and Thiago Alcantara have been lured away by other suitors.

Enter Allan, the latest in a seemingly endless stream of under-the-radar talent plucked up by perennial Serie A surprise package Udinese.

The Friuli outfit have made a living off of identifying unnoticed promising players at the ground level before seeing them off to desirable destinations, with Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez a prime example of the club’s development strategy.

Roma’s Mehdi Benatia, Gokhan Inler of Napoli and Juventus’ Kwadwo Aasamoah also stand as beacons of the Udinese system, whilst supposed Arsenal objective Juan Cuadrado still belongs in part to the Zebrette despite plying his trade successfully at Fiorentina currently.

Allan is the latest to impress in the Italian top flight for Francesco Guidolin’s side, having made a profound impact after arriving from his native Brazil at a price of just €3 million in June 2012, though has largely been overlooked outside of Serie A.

The quintessential box-to-box midfielder, the 22-year-old is best deployed just in front of the defence, where he can break up opposition play and sting opponents on the counter with accurate distribution.

He leads the Italian championship in tackles, outdoing the likes of Arturo Vidal, Daniele De Rossi and Nigel de Jong in this area, having racked up 51 on the term to pair with nearly two interceptions per appearance.

In possession Allan has completed his passes at an 85% clip, demonstrating a particular penchant for picking out team-mates with accurate long balls, forming a deadly combination with his aptitude for closing down enemy forays into the offensive third.

Such versatility would go a long way in solving David Moyes’ midfield woes, with the Brazilian further renowned for his engine and ability to go the entire 90 minutes at a high tempo, as he’d add steel with the technical skills to match.

And as an added boon for United, the price could potentially be right.

Guarin’s move to Stamford Bridge is understood to be valued in the region of €15-18 million, a figure that likely made United uncomfortable given the fallout over flop Marouane Fellaini’s massive price-tag, but Allan would command much less despite his considerable talent given that his body of work in Italy spans just 18 months.

Udinese certainly won’t give up an asset for a cut-rate price and often desire to hold on to players long enough to reap maximum financial rewards, yet everybody has their price and for less than €12 million United could indeed have their man, who at 22 years of age has a high ceiling for growth.

At this point it’s merely an idea but in a climate in which Moyes and company continually find themselves beaten to the punch on the market, Allan would prove good value both in the short term and down the road, should United have the vision to identify a player that has evaded the spotlight and could be primed for a big future on the European stage.

image: © Flavio Di Pietro

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