Membership to ‘the cult of Joe Allen’ has swelled to an all-time high thanks to his exploits for Wales at Euro 2016, yet it seems Liverpool are still not buying into the widespread adoration, with reports surfacing that the Reds are ready to offload the midfielder ahead of the new season.
The man dubbed ‘the Welsh Xavi’ is now the subject of confirmed interest from Europa League champions Sevilla.
After playing such an influential role in Wales exceeding all pre-tournament expectations at the Euros, it’s not overly difficult to see why.
Though his attributes might fall just short of those belonging to Xavi – possibly the finest centre-midfielder of all-time – Allen’s proficiency in possession and terrier-like tenacity are admirable qualities for a player in his position.
Only two Welsh teammates made more than the 14 interceptions Allen racked up at Euro 2016 and they were both defenders. His pass success rate was just north of the 85 per cent mark and he completed seven of the nine dribbles he attempted.
Having risen to the occasion on the biggest stage, the £15m Liverpool shelled out for his services in 2012 may now be viewed slightly more favourably than in the past by Reds fans.
The rumour is that Sevilla might be willing to match that sum too. After those performances for his country, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would be mad to part company with a player nearing the peak of his powers though, wouldn’t he?
Arguably, it’s actually the right move, despite Allen’s newfound popularity. The former Swansea player only has a year left on his current Anfield deal and making the most of his vogue status does make financial sense.
The 26-year-old made only six Premier League starts under Klopp and four of those came in the twilight of the campaign when, by his own admission, the German was having to ‘manage’ his selection with the Europa League taking precedent.
Even under Brendan Rodgers, the manager who signed him, Allen was by no means a first-choice player and an average of 15 league starts per season in his four full campaigns on Merseyside tells a certain kind of tale.
Klopp has considerable strength in that position, with new arrival Marko Grujic vying for a maximum of three central spots alongside Allen, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, James Milner, Lucas and Kevin Stewart.
If, as many would say, Allen is being undervalued at Liverpool then interest from such canny operators as Sevilla is probably all the evidence needed.
However, he’s never been Klopp’s man and given the contractual situation, taking advantage of his heightened reputation, in monetary terms especially, is fully understandable.