Liverpool have a good news, bad news issue. On the good side, the side has a potential Brazilian star in its ranks. The bad news? They can’t play him
Liverpool has been one of the best destinations for Brazilians in Europe, in the past few years. Just look at the rise of rise of Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho. Allan de Souza who is on loan at Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, is the latest Samba boy to be acquired by the club. Is the 20-year old ready to make the jump to Liverpool next season, or will work permit be an issue?
After impressing the club’s scouts in the Frenz International Cup, Allan was signed by English giants Liverpool in August 2015, but was directly loaned-out to SJK – where he won the Finnish league – and then to Sint-Truiden where he experienced life in Belgium. His parent club manager Jurgen Klopp was quick to express his admiration to the teenager, but admitted that retaining him for the 2016/2017 season was not an option, because of the English FA’s strict work permit regulations.
So, yet another loan spell was seen as the only solution, as Allan jumped to a more competitive league this time, when he joined German capital-based side Hertha Berlin. The move was seen as a masterclass by Klopp, however things did not go as expected, as Hertha surpassed all expectations and has been challenging for a top five spot all season long, cementing itself as one of the best teams, in one of best the leagues in Europe.
It is perhaps understandable that Allan, who celebrated his 20th birthday a month ago, has only featured in 11 league appearances. It’s hard to blame Hungarian manager Pal Dardai for favoring more experienced options, especially that this is Allan’s first season in a top European league.
Consequently, having never featured for Brazil’s senior side, and having participated in just 540 minutes out of 2700 in the Bundesliga, the young midfielder cannot earn a work permit for next season. The obligation was that he plays 30% of league minutes, but he has only played 21% so far. Unless he makes a miraculous run by starting and completing 90 minutes in all four remaining league games, he would not be able to reach the 30% mark.
But here’s hope! After an absence of weeks from the lineup, Allan has started and completed Hertha’s last 2 games away to Mainz and at home to Wolfsburg – where he had his best game to date in European football. De Souza was utilized as his team’s deepest central midfielder, operating in the regista role, where his brilliant anticipation of events, interceptions, successful tackles and long balls saw him elected as the man of the match. This performance was reminiscent of his time at Internacional’s youth side, where his passing-range stood out as he dictated play from a deep position.
There is no doubt that Allan has the quality to become one of the best Brazilian deep-lying playmakers of his generation, but whether he miraculously gains a work permit by next season or not, he is not yet ready to make an impact at Liverpool’s first team. Another loan spell to another German side ready to give him more game-time, or even to a different European top league as France or Spain, could be his last, before he gains the maturity and experience he needs in order to make the biggest jump in his career. Merseyside will be eagerly waiting for its new Brazilian star.