Piece by guest writer Tom Beeston. Follow Tom @thomas_beeston
We all have clothes in our wardrobe that we hoard unnecessarily. Even when we buy new clothes, we find space for the old ones. They might come in handy for fancy dress some day, we convince ourselves. Emergency clothes should our luggage ever go missing.
Joe Allen was too valuable a piece of clothing to gather mothballs in our wardrobe. With Marko Grujic impressing in pre-season, Emre Can being – along with Nathaniel Clyne – the safest bets to be in the season opener’s starting XI, and Jordan Henderson being our captain, Allen would’ve had trouble finding his way in the team, despite his quality and recent form.
His sale represents a ruthlessness under Klopp; with Rodgers as manager, he will have sat on the bench every match, his value depreciating weekly, until he was stuffed in a charity bag for peanuts a summer later – see Agger, Shelvey, Maxi – or sent on a doomed loan spell, with the same ultimate outcome. Pepe Reina springs to mind, and it seems we’re getting the same with Mario Balotelli.
At times, online, it was hard to tell the general opinion on Allen; even here at Empire of the Kop, writers would have conflicting opinions on his performances every match-day, leaving you scratching your head as to whether you should rate him or not.
In the autumn of his Liverpool stint, he achieved cult status amongst fans with his Pirlo-esque look and impressive cameo appearances. A fantastic Euro campaign with Wales saw him named in UEFA’s Team of the Tournament. Despite him reaching the dreaded last-year-of-contract status, a year of dancing in the shop window effectively doubled his value.
You can’t fault Liverpool’s transfer business in terms of outgoings this summer, and the sale of Allen is no different; £13m for a player in the last year of contract, who wasn’t even guaranteed a place on the bench for the forthcoming season, is fantastic. Compare it to another notable last-year-of-contract sale in Robin van Persie – yes, circumstances are different, with Allen fitter, younger, and being sold in the midst of the transfer fee’s Silly Season – but van Persie was the most lethal striker in the Premier League at the time, a key player being sold to a rival club for £20m. Despite the differences, we have no right to be selling him for anywhere near the fee that Arsenal sold van Persie for.
With no European football this season, it’s all about trimming the wardrobe to what’s necessary. Recuperating £13m from a £15m player who hasn’t been a roaring success represents surprisingly good business for Liverpool.
I must say, I’ve never felt happier about making a £2m loss on clothes before.