I was sad to read that that Liverpool and Wales midfielder Joe Allen has transferred to Stoke City, with £11M guaranteed up front plus a further £2M in add-ons.
Allen joined Liverpool in 2012 from Swansea in a £15M move, the first signing of the Brendan Rodgers era at Anfield, but injuries and an inability to ever really find his best position at his new club led to a situation where Allen became something of a utility part in the squad.
That role continued under Jürgen Klopp last season, though Allen increasingly impressed when played either as a driving eight in a three-man midfield or when he was pushed into the attacking support band as a ten. He then shone for Wales in that kind of a role at the Euros.
I was keen for the player to stay, and Klopp admitted that all things being equal he’d want to keep Allen around. All things, though, weren’t equal. The player had just one year left to go in his deal and wanted to be assured of significant playing time.
Liverpool couldn’t offer that, and didn’t want to lose him on a free. And if he wasn’t going to be a starter as the club looked to reshape itself in Klopp’s image, Liverpool also wanted to bring in—and give playing time to—players who would be around beyond the coming season.
He now will head to an increasingly ambitious Stoke City project, joining players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic, and Giannelli Imbula in a side that seeks to entertain and to play up-tempo attacking football. Quite the change from Stoke in years past.