Although new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had a written agreement with his previous employers, Swansea City, that he would not try to sign any Swansea players for a full twelve months, there was a certain inevitability about Joe Allen leaving south Wales once it became clear that there was a clause in that agreement allowing him to leave for £15 million for a big English club. Michael Laudrup, who replaced Rodgers as manager at the Liberty Stadium, accepted that it was pointless trying to keep a player who wanted to leave, adding: “He has a great possibility to go to a big club with a manager who knows him and who will play him.” Allen admitted that Craig Bellamy, with whom he had been in Great Britain’s Olympic squad, had been urging him to join Liverpool, although it was somewhat ironic that around the same time Allen was officially signing his first Liverpool contract Bellamy was also signing a contract to leave Merseyside for south Wales and his hometown club, Cardiff City.
The midfielder had been part of Swansea’s set-up since he was only nine-years-old, progressing through the junior ranks until the day came when manager Roberto Martínez gave him his Football League debut when he was only 17 on the final day of the 2006/07 season. Progress was slow for him in the next couple of years and he had a spell on loan at Wrexham but his spell had to be curtailed when he received an ankle injury. Once he had recovered, he became an integral part of the Swansea team that first consolidated its position in the Championship and then made a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier League. Allen featured in the play-off final against Reading at Wembley in which his club fulfilled their dream by defeating the Berkshire club by four goals to two.