Liverpool have been linked with signing Joe Allen. Should they?
Young Welsh dynamo Joe Allen is rated as one of the Premier League's brightest prospects.
Should they? No, not this summer at least. And our reasoning is down to one key aspect - money.
Allen is currently part of the Great Britain squad going for gold at the Olympic games, and quality performances from him, regardless of the opposition, will see his price rocket further.
Swansea are talking about driving a hard bargain, and it could be one which does not result well for Liverpool's bank balance.
It is the legacy of Liverpool's disastrous buy-British policy from last year, if Sunderland received £20 million for Jordan Henderson, a player at a similar stage of his career, Swansea are entitled to expect a similar sum.
Reports have suggested Swansea are hoping for £15 million plus for Allen, and that is why Liverpool should walk away, for now at least.
You have to ask; will his price go up in 12 months from what it is now? With Swansea facing the potentially troublesome 'second-season syndrome' factor, Allen also may face difficulties in pushing on.
Even if he has a better season than last year, it is hard to believe his price tag a year from now will have moved upwards from £15 million.
Do Liverpool need him?
This is another key question. Liverpool are likely to utilise a three-man midfield, and two of the positions are automatic picks, Steven Gerrard and Lucas.
Brendan Rodgers has expressed his desire to work with Jordan Henderson, who still has bags of potential, and Jonjo Shelvey is another talent who will be competing for the spot.
Charlie Adam appears to be on his way out of the club, possibly as part of a swap deal with Clint Dempsey, but if he does stay, he will be pushing for first team action too.
The highly rated and clearly talented Spaniard, Fernandez Suso is perhaps Liverpool's brightest midfield prospect, and Allen's arrival would potentially block his path to the first team too.
All in all, Liverpool are reasonably well stocked in centre midfield, with Jay Spearing offering cover too, and there is no urgency for Allen to be signed.
Brendan Rodgers really needs to give players like Shelvey and Henderson competitive game time and judge them on that before electing to sign Allen.
If they fail to convince this season, then perhaps the boss should take a second look at him next summer.
If he is dead set on signing a new midfielder, Allen is hardly the only midfielder available. Rodgers has the whole world to scout for players, and could snap up a bargain for half the price.
Allen himself may feel Liverpool is a jump too soon in his career. He has seen Henderson struggle to acclimatise, and at 22 has plenty of time to work on his game.
A season under Michael Laudrup could be a good experience for him, and he could try to increase his productivity from the four goals and two assists he provided last season in 37 games.
Liverpool should focus on what they do have available in the centre, and work on getting the best out of it. That at least is preferable to dramatically overpaying on a young Brit who still has a lot to prove at the top level.
Next summer, if he continues his development, and Liverpool and Rodgers have a clearer direction, then will be a wiser time to consider a move.
Do you agree or should Liverpool go for Allen?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald
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