By James Cormack
Brighton & Hove Albion won the World Cup, folks!
Alexis Mac Allister will return to the South Coast feeling like a rock star. She could very well end up slapping Roberto De Zerbi’s butt and tickling the Italian’s stubble upon her return given the confidence she will no doubt exude ahead of the Gabbiani’s festive schedule. You can do what you want yourself.
The introduction of Mac Allister to Argentina’s starting XI was one of several tactical changes Lionel Scaloni made in Qatar that propelled the Albiceleste to their first World Cup glory since 1986. The Brighton midfielder was nothing short of little superb in Qatar and produced a stellar performance in the final. That show alone would undoubtedly have piqued the interests of Europe’s elite and added a few million more to Mac Allister’s transfer value.
The Brighton man is one of several players expected to earn a big move from the back of his World Cup display case, but a January departure isn’t inevitable. He could go on next summer.
Several clubs have already been linked to the diminutive midfielder and here are a few who would be smart to go after Mac Allister in 2023.
Inter Milan’s midfield is quite impressive with Marcelo Brozovic dominating at the base and Nicolo Barella plundering the right half. Hakan Calhanoglu has completed this tandem well since he passed the Milan watershed, but Mac Allister would be an excellent systematic solution for Simone Inzaghi as well.
The Argentine has evolved from an astute attacking midfielder to a stubborn box-to-box midfielder in a matter of weeks. His work in confined spaces and helping build his squad has been honed by both Graham Potter and De Zerbi, while his Argentinian ‘grit’ showed itself in Qatar.
Mac Allister is a resolute footballer with an impressive technical repertoire and would fit perfectly into Inter’s midfield three.
The Brighton star’s work with La Albiceleste would suggest he’s suited to performing in a well-balanced three-man midfield.
2. Atletico Madrid
Both Rodrigo De Paul and Mac Allister looked like the archetypal footballers Diego Simeone at the World Cup. De Paul responded very well after a poor start to the tournament and joined forces with Mac Allister to create a counter pressure machine in the middle of the park.
Simeone has already got his hands on De Paul, but the Argentine didn’t really shine in the Spanish capital.
Many will project Mac Allister to suffer a similar fate should Atletico show interest in another Argentine midfielder, but the Brighton man possesses the skills and stamina to thrive in Simeone’s lineup.
Central midfield is probably not high on Tottenham’s transfer market priorities in 2023, but Antonio Conte is desperate to strengthen his squad and could be keen to sign the World Cup hero if the opportunity arises.
Conte is blessed with several competent No. 8s, but some fans may see Mac Allister as a talent that could ease some of the creative burden from Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski.
The Argentine’s proficiency at the double pivot is questionable, however, and Conte has mainly utilized a 3-4-3 formation since arriving in north London. The Italian has switched to a 3-5-2 from time to time, and Mac Allister would suit the role of number 8 on the left in this setup.
Granit Xhaka’s resurgence as a forward number 8 has masked some depth problems within Arsenal’s midfield this season.
The club decided not to sign a midfielder (aside from the creative Fabio Vieira) in the summer due to Xhaka’s early season form and the Swiss midfielder has since evolved into one of the premier midfielders in the Premier League.
However, depth in the midfield areas would not hurt should the Gunners maintain their title bid during the second half of the season.
Mac Allister is perfect for Xhaka’s current role in Mikel Arteta’s three-man midfield. The Argentine is very pressing, a competent passer and capable of making an impact in the last third.
5. Manchester United
Manchester United will be linked with a long list of stars who have shined in Qatar, and Mac Allister is set to be one of those names.
The Red Devils need to strengthen their midfield in 2023 and Mac Allister is an interesting profile for Erik ten Hag to consider. Christian Eriksen is not a long-term fix, while updates on Scott McTominay and Fred are needed if United are to improve under the Dutch manager.
Mac Allister will fit perfectly into Ten Hag’s setup and immediately improve United’s technical quality in midfield.
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Who should hire Alexis Mac Allister?.