Joe Allen has told Swansea he wants to leave for Liverpool. Here's why it's a great deal for the new look Anfield outfit.
Swansea's Joe Allen lined up for Team GB against the much-fancied Brazil side in the holding role for Stuart Pearce's men. But Allen is no tough-tackling destroyer, with the number eight more of a pass-master of a midfielder.
Allen has impressed hugely for Swansea City over the past few seasons, shooting to prominence last season in the Premier League as one half of Brendan Rodger's infamous 'Xavi and Iniesta' central midfield partnership.
Playing the starring roles of the World Cup and European Championship holding Spanish duo was Joe Allen and Leon Britton. Standing at 5 ft 6 and 5 ft 5 respectively, Allen and Britton certainly mirror their illustrious midfield companions for size. But the comparison is not a lazy fallacy. They are Barca in style too.
Allen is the more coveted of the two, at 22 years of age with a long career with Wales waiting and set for a starring role at London 2012 this summer. In the first 20 minutes of GB's game against Brazil, Allen was neat and tidy in possession, confident on the ball and smart with his movement off it.
The second half was a quiet affair, as Brazil basically settled for their 2-0 victory. But what impressed me about Allen was how he didn't get overawed in the middle of the park against the highly rated Brazilians Oscar, Hulk and Neymar pressing him intensely.
Looking towards next season, and it is apparent that new Liverpool boss Rodgers has been keen to be re-united with Allen, who he praised almost on a weekly basis at the Liberty Stadium last season. The Northern Irish manager is currently conducting a complete overhaul of the playing style seen at the club, shifting focus from counter-attack to the possession-based mantra he is known for. It will be no easy feat, but it's a task made that much easier when you have assured ball-playing central midfielders such as Joe Allen.
Allen is the more coveted of the two, at 22 years of age with a long career with Wales waiting and set for a starring role at London 2012 this summer
Whilst £13.5m might seem a steep price to pay for Allen, it doesn't seem drastic to me. Liverpool shelled far more for the athletic but technically limited Jordan Henderson last summer, and Allen represents a substantial upgrade on the Englishman.
With Lucas Leiva set to make his comeback from a horrible cruciate ligament injury that obliterated his playing time last term, Allen could slot in neatly alongside the Euro 2012-refreshed Steven Gerrard.
With most agreeing that Rodgers will adopt the 4-3-3 formation this season with Liverpool that served him so well at Swansea; Lucas, Allen and Gerrard would be an impressive midfield trio. Henderson has yet to prove he is worthy of a starting spot, Jay Spearing is workman-like but unpolished and Charlie Adam, Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole would be capable reserves.
Therefore it seems that Liverpool have little to lose (well, £15m, but they haven't been afraid of splashing the cash recently – see Henderson, Downing, Carroll as evidence) and all to gain with the signature of the tiki-taka schooled Welshman.
Whilst last summer's transfer philosophy at Anfield was supposed to revolve around signing young, hungry and talented rising British stars – Kenny Daglish didn't quite carry out the Moneyball-style approach to the letter.
Liverpool have been looking for a technically gifted, mentally sure, dynamic and young central midfielder and Allen ticks all those boxes. It may not be the most glamorous signing of the summer, but the Swansea man could prove exactly what is needed to kick-start Rodgers' revolution.
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