Everton have confirmed the departure of Brazilian midfielder Allan to United Arab Emirates club Al Wahda for an undisclosed transfer fee.
It ends a two-year stint on Merseyside for Allan who was brought to Everton from Italy by Carlo Ancelotti in the summer of 2020.
The Brazilian came to Goodison Park alongside fellow midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure after the Italian became Blues boss to much fanfare in December 2019.
Like many Evertonians, I was excited for a world-class coach to take the reins and for a moment I thought there was a chance he could turn things around.
Allan’s arrival, while nowhere near as sensational a signing as James Rodriguez of course, represented the kind of experienced, quality player the team needed, especially in the engine room.
He was, I think, generally a popular player with the supporters, and one who performed well overall for the Blues, although he had some downturns at times and quite a few injuries.
Ultimately, however, it was not to be under Ancelotti and after a 2020-21 season marred by injuries and Covid restrictions, which also ended in failure to qualify for Europe, the Italian left to join Real Madrid at the start of last summer.
Since Ancelotti’s departure, Allan’s future has been a bit uncertain. He had always been a player who had been seen as Ancelotti’s man and his former manager at Napoli was of course one of the main reasons he joined the Toffees.
He and Doucoure formed the first-choice midfielder under Rafa Benitez at the start of last season. Again though, injury undermined his start and the Brazilian was in and out of the squad as results dwindled and the team struggled against relegation.
Now he has left the club to play in the Middle East where his former Everton teammate Rodriguez is also playing his trade these days.
In a sense, Allan’s departure is another indication of how confused and uncertain this club has been for so long in terms of manager and player signings.
Huge sums have been spent on a succession of players and coaches, including Ancelotti, none of whom have been able to bring stability or success to Goodison Park.
Like I said, Allan wasn’t a bad player at all and he always played with determination and commitment to the cause, which certainly couldn’t be said at the time of each of his teammates.
On the other hand, he lacked pace for the Premier League and is really on the wrong side of 30 now.
Had he been injury-free (some hope of course with this club!) had been able to play alongside his midfield partners with pace and energy and in his best position, which I think was more advanced than he often did, we might have seen a lot more of him.
His departure, however, indicates how determined current manager Frank Lampard is (with considerable backing from Kevin Thelwell) to put his own mark on this Blues side.
The former Chelsea boss has shown a degree of ruthlessness unusual for recent Everton managers and I have to say it’s welcome to see.
Lampard has indicated with his transfer decisions that players who don’t fit his philosophy or who don’t perform consistently will be transferred as soon as possible.
It’s important to give structure and focus to his players and shape the team he wants to see. Only then can we judge him correctly.
Too often in the past, Everton managers have inherited squads bloated with players some of whom didn’t want to and had to fend for themselves and fix it. It was a recipe for confusion and underperformance.
Now, after so much upheaval and change, there seems to be a new degree of strategy and direction at club football with the appointments of Lampard and Thelwell.
Another recent example of Lampard’s determination to ensure every one of his players is on the same page is Dele Alli’s departure for Turkey.
The former Spurs star was brought to Everton by Lampard on transfer deadline day in January when he himself was installed as manager.
The Blues boss was hoping to find a way to bring back the Alli who shone for Tottenham and England and was once one of Europe’s most beloved young talents.
But that wasn’t the case and he couldn’t recapture his past form despite some odd moments of excellence on his part, like in that decisive match of the season at Crystal Palace.
However, rather than hope that he will eventually turn good or let Alli sit on the bench to collect his wages, he was quickly transferred. It also saved a large sum paid to Tottenham under the terms of his deal.
As for Allan, given the arrivals this summer in midfield – Amadou Onana, Idrissa Gueye and James Garner – the stunning form of Alex Iwobi, as well as the return to fitness of Tom Davies and Doucoure, he had fallen into the pecking order and wasn’t likely to get much playing time.
Now he is gone and the rebuilding under Lampard continues. Early signs are generally good, but there is still a long way to go before we know if the latest manager and director of football to try under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri, is capable of turning around the fortunes of this club.