When Alexis Sanchez arrived at the Emirates in July for a cool £34 million, Arsenal fans were understandably enthused.
For the second straight summer, the Gunners had broken the bank to purchase a La Liga-based star after years of relatively conservative spending on the transfer market.
All told, Arsene Wenger spent upwards of £80 million bringing in new talent – with Calum Chambers, Danny Welbeck and Mathieu Debuchy streaming in alongside Sanchez.
But whilst the overall quality of the squad improved, the lack of a dominant defensive midfielder was entirely overlooked in the summer spend.
Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini have taken on the duty of shielding the defence, though neither has exactly flourished with both on the wrong side of 30-years-old.
The Frenchman has taken the lion’s share of the minutes in the Premier League with 421 to the Spaniard’s 209 minutes.
|Team||Pos||Won Tackle||Total Tackle||Apps||Mins|
To date, Flamini has won 12 tackles league play, whilst Arteta has chipped in with six. These are not exactly gaudy numbers, and only reinforce the idea that Arsenal need a stronger presence in the centre of the park.
Enter Allan, a player thriving at Udinese in much the same the same way Alexis did – yet in the defensive midfield role.
The Brazilian leads Serie A in tackles with 27 in 46 total attempts, playing every minute available for the Zebrette so far this season as the club sit fourth in the Italian top flight.
And it’s not only this season that the 23-year-old has dominated the centre of the park for Udinese. Last season he led the league in tackles with 107, and trailed only Valon Behrami in the 2012-13 campaign with 124 - his career best.
To say that most of Allan’s exploits at the Stadio Friuli have gone under the radar would be an understatement. Whilst others such as Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho – who is 22 and has been linked with Arsenal – have monopolised attention and thus become pricey, Allan has gone about his business with quiet efficiency in northeast Italy.
Transfermarkt lists his value at a strikingly reasonable £6.3 million, a bargain figure for the type of tenacious play he brings to a team.
Arsenal would do well to take a look at the Brazilian, who could be a relatively low-cost solution to an enduring problem and still has lots of room to grow at his age.
With non-existent mass competition to drive his price-tag up, qualifications and a high upside, Allan is the type of player that has plenty to offer the Gunners – and would be a useful addition come January when the transfer window opens again.