The story of Joe Allen is like finding something amazing in the bargain bin at your favourite supermarket.
Riding the success of a great summer this year on the international stage with Wales (Euro 2016) and taking the team to their first ever competitive semi-finals.
Allen was subsequently named part of the “UEFA Team of The Tournament” along with fellow countryman Aaron Ramsey, Golden Boot winner Antoine Griezmann (France), 3 times Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and World Cup winner Toni Kross (Germany).
Being right up there with such a group of players, it’s easy to see why teams would be looking to pen a deal for the 26-year-old Welshman.
Allen has been on a steady rise prior to moving to Stoke. Signing his first professional contract with Swansea, starting off on their youth team and then making a £16M move to Liverpool.
Klopp has said he “likes” Allen and thinks he is a “wonderful football player” but on the reverse Allen had stated the negotiations were a “whirlwind”, but was “excited” when he heard Stoke’s interest, concluding it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
Full props to Stoke for picking Allen up for only £13M on a 5-year deal, poor player marketing from Liverpool for letting him go so cheaply.
Although having a steady decline in value over his 91 apps for the club over the last 4 years, Allen is coming back from a summer that saw him and teammates welcomed home as heroes and there should have certainly been another markup on his price.
With all this said, what exactly does Allen bring to Stoke?
Coming into a side with injuries to 6 possible first team players he brings availability. Looking at their current lineup, even at peak fitness, Stoke’s only other option for a true central midfielder Charlie Adam, would struggle to usurp Allen.
Not only does Allen have pace, and strength over Adam, he also has age on his side. At nearly four years the junior to injured Adam and with superior experience on international duty, it’s clear to see who will hold that position.
With almost half of the squad (13/27 players) aged 28 or over, Stoke have one of the highest average ages for players in the league (28), and with Joe Allen in the squad, it would appear Stoke are finally catching on and building around youthful experience.