On the face of it, Liverpool FC’s participation in Malaysia’s Frenz International Cup earlier this year was not a resounding success. Their Under-18 side, proclaimed pre-tournament as ‘undoubtedly the team to beat’ by the competition website, won an easy group but were dumped out in the quarter final by Valencia.
However, as well as valuable experience for youth team players, these tournaments also provide a golden opportunity for clubs to uncover unknown stars in the making from around the world, and in this case Liverpool believe they have stumbled upon a diamond. A diamond in the shape of 18-year-old Allan Rodrigues de Souza, who starred in the Internacional side that swept all before them in South East Asia as they scored 20 goals in six games, culminating in a 3-2 final victory against Argentinian outfit Estudiantes.
From his role in central midfield, left-footed Allan scored two of those twenty. The first was a free kick curled into the top corner against Valencia, while the second was a magnificent 40-yard lob of the Porto goalkeeper in the semi final. The Scouse scouts in attendance are sure to have noted his technical excellence, precise long passing, strong tackling and ability to read the game.
Allan’s deliveries from corners and free kicks were also top notch (a fact that will inevitably lead eventually to his left foot being dubbed a wand in the English press), an area in which some observers believe Liverpool are currently lacking. He would most likely be employed at Anfield as a defensive midfielder or perhaps slightly further forward, spraying passes from the centre of the park, should formation allow.
As Inter have progressed to this year’s Copa Libertadores semi finals, boss Diego Aguirre has implemented a rotation policy in which the club’s youth teamers have seen plenty of first team action. Allan, however, is not among those to have been deemed ready and is yet to have made his professional debut. As such, Liverpool’s interest was a shock for Brazilian observers, most of whom had never heard of the youngster.
His youth, lack of experience and the potential difficulties of adapting to life in England make him a risky signing, however with an initial fee agreed upon of just £500,000, and further cash only due as a percentage of any future sale, the deal is a risk the Anfield club can easily afford to take.
Allan will, at least, have compatriots Lucas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and fellow new boy Roberto Firmino to keep him company and help him settle in to life on Merseyside, although he will certainly not be joining them in the first team squad just yet.
Written by Calum Leahy
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