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Allan Rodrigues de Souza: Why Liverpool scouts have Internacional chiefs baffled

He's only weeks into his Anfield career, but whoever it was at Liverpool to push the signing of Allan deserves a raise.

Full name Allan Rodrigues de Souza, the 18 year-old Brazilian has looked the part since arriving from Internacional last month - and its not just Liverpool academy staff he's impressed.

Michael Beale, Liverpool's U21 coach, handed Allan a debut against Luzern and immediately afterwards was fielding enquiries from Swiss officials about the youngster's availability. This performance followed on from Brendan Rodgers including Allan in his squad for their friendly in Finland against HJK Helsinki.

With a wand for a left foot, Allan can be likened to Rivaldo or the teenage version of former Manchester United midfielder Anderson, now with Internacional.

The lad's a bolter, there's no doubt about it.

At Internacional, they never saw this coming. Allan, who's been overlooked for Brazil youth team trials, wasn't rated as a future first teamer. Indeed, Inter U20 coach Ricardo Cobalchini actually pulled Allan out of his defensive midfield position last year, pushing him into an attacking role.

Cobalchini rated Allan's potential, but believed other members of his squad were a better chance of making it with Inter.

But then came this year's Frenz Cup across Malaysia and Indonesia. Inter included Allan in their squad and the youngster, in his new attacking role, played out of his skin, helping his team to the final, where they defeated Argentina's Estudiantes.

Also taking part in the tournament were Premier League duo Tottenham and Liverpool. Reds coaching staff, including U18 chief Neil Critchley, had seen enough. Allan was recommended to the club's transfer committee.

For Inter, Liverpool's approach came out of the blue. But was welcomed.

There had been discussions at Inter about making more of their youth system in terms of generating funds. Rather than sell senior stars, serious debate has been held about cashing in on their youth teamers to balance the books. And with Allan rated behind several of his U20 teammates, Inter were happy to do business.

Deportivo La Coruna had also been contacted, with Brazilian super agent Giuliano Bertolucci acting as intermediary. Bertolucci had already placed Nathan (Atletico Paraenense) and Kenedy (Fluminense) at Chelsea before helping Allan land his dream move to Liverpool.

Tied to Inter until 2017, sports director Carlos Pellegrini was under no pressure to sell. But he was happy to negotiate a knockdown £500,000 fee with Liverpool for Allan, which included a percentage of his sell on fee.

Lucas Leiva, the senior Liverpool midfielder, hinted at surprise over the deal when asked about Allan on local Brazilian radio.

"I know Allan," he insisted upon the announcement of Allan's signing. "I know he has little professional experience.

"But if Liverpool are signing him, he has quality."

Lucas' faith in Critchley and Liverpool's scouts appears justified given Allan's first weeks with the Reds.

And the ease with which Liverpool took Allan off Inter's hands could see them return for one of his former U20 teammates.

Ronald Santanna Rodrigues, a genuine Brazilian No10, is also being linked with a move to England and Liverpool. Like Allan, Ronald was part of Inter's Frenz Cup winning team. But he is also rated among coaching staff as one capable of making the step up to the Inter first team.

In the meantime, if the past fortnight is anything to go by, Liverpool have landed a genuine bargain in Allan.

Credit to the maligned transfer committee. Allan could be one they can hang their hat on.


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Chris Beattie
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