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Why Allan Rodrigues de Souza (again) a wanted man: But does that include Liverpool?

From wanting to give up. From self-confessed utter "humiliation". To now being wanted by South America's champions. 2019 has been some year for Allan Rodrigues de Souza - the stillLiverpool-owned midfielder of Fluminense.

First the update. Having established himself not only as a first-choice for Flu, but now among the most coveted young players in Brazil, Allan - and Liverpool - have a choice to make.

With his loan to expire at the end of this month, decisions need to be made. Not the least as enquiries are arriving from Santos, Sao Paulo and the newly crowned Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo. And that's not counting the intentions of Flu president, Mario Bittencourt, who is eager to extend Allan's loan into a third season.

"There's no option to buy or renew loan. There are talks with his representatives," declared Bittencourt. "In Sao Paulo I talked with the representative of Allan to try the loan. It will depend on a lot, it is a feeling that if no purchase proposal is made (to Liverpool), he will stay with us."

But there must be concern for Bittencourt, as while Allan's agents reside in Sao Paulo, that city's biggest club also has interest in the 22 year-old midfielder. And making things even more complicated is the presence of new Sao Paulo coach Fernando Diniz - who was sacked by Bittencourt this past season.

Diniz isn't one to be coy, declaring just this week the hope of convincing Liverpool to send Allan to them for the new campaign.

"He's a great player. I think Sao Paulo has to count on great players. He did a great season at Fluminense. I don't know where these negotiations are, but he is a player I really enjoyed working with for Fluminense," stated Diniz.

Indeed, a local Sao Paulo source tells Tribalfootball.com that negotiations with Liverpool have kicked off. And that "feeling" Diniz discusses, is the belief inside Sao Paulo that Liverpool are planning to hand Allan a new deal (with his current contract to expire in June) before loaning him out again. Given the way Diniz helped Allan find his feet this year, there's a confidence Liverpool will be eager for the 22 year-old to continue the working the relationship.

For his part, Allan admits Diniz was key to him not just reviving his career this year - but also his love of football.

"Diniz was the guy who made me rebuild my football and rediscover my joy," said Allan after Diniz's firing. "Fernando gave me total confidence, he helped me a lot.

"The player needs this, a closer relationship with the coach. And I'm just having it now. Other times I didn't know what was going on. Sometimes I did the wrong thing and no one told me.

"I did it thinking it was right, but it wasn't and no one corrected it. Here it is different. Fernando showed me the way."

Whether he stays or goes in the New Year, Allan will be forever grateful to Flu for launching his pro career. Four years on the books of Liverpool. Five loans across Europe - with five different teams. Allan has never made a competitive appearance for his parent club. And he admits, the constant chopping and changing had him "depressed", "humiliated" and thinking of chucking it all in at the start of the year. The lowest point coming during a second spell in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"It was complicated, it was sad. The word was humiliation, which happened to me," recalls Allan. "And that was discouraging me more and more to the point that I wanted to stop playing. I don't know if the word humiliation is too strong, but there was not the human side (at Eintracht), the understanding side."

Wife Jordana, who had just given birth to daughter Antonella, admits Allan confessed to her "he was going to give up his career, something he had been fighting for since he was five years old".

Allan continues: "The desire was to stay at home every day. Sleep, eat ... This was the routine. I didn't feel like going to the club. I didn't feel like training. If I were living alone, it would be worse. I would have no one to talk to. Jordana was a warrior. She held everything together."

With that support, Allan - with Liverpool's assistance - cut short his loan in Frankfurt and flew his young family home to try again with Flu. And under Diniz's tutelage, the former Internacional junior began fulfilling the promise that had caught the eye of Liverpool scouts four years ago.

"Now I'm very happy! Accomplished! I'm playing well again, I am happy again on the field, I am happy to train, to be with my teammates. I am very grateful. I have a huge affection for Fluminense," he beams.

So what about Liverpool? With the European champions holding him to his contract, those in charge clearly know Allan has always had the talent. But the UK's restrictive work permit laws have given both club and player little chance of building a bond.

But Jurgen Klopp knows about Allan's potential and is on record stating the club must find a way of keeping hold of the player.

"I saw him training and thought, 'Oh my God, what can we do to keep this boy here?' Exceptional talent," says Liverpool's manager. "Good player, good attitude and everyone loves him. He's a great guy."

So there are decisions to be made. A potential new contract from Liverpool. A potential new club in Brazil. And a plan to qualify for that UK permit. Allan Rodrigues de Sousa now has opportunities falling at his feet. What a difference a year makes...


Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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