After a disappointing 2011-12 campaign, it appears as though Liverpool is trying to turn things around this year.
The club may have taken a big step toward doing so on Thursday, as it has reportedly acquired midfielder Joe Allen from Swansea.
UPDATE: August 10th, 2:35 PM
Liverpool have officially announced Allen's arrival at Anfield today, giving the Reds another talented young midfielder to plug into their lineup.
Allen told Liverpool's website he was thrilled to be at Anfield.
"I feel incredible. Everyone knows the history of this club, it's a massive club, and I'm delighted to have joined.
"The passion that people here have for football is something I share and I want to be part of that.
Now, alongside Fabio Borini, manager Brendan Rogers has a pair of new, young, talented players sure to give the Reds a jumpstart heading into this campaign.
According to Darren Lewis of Mirror Football, the Reds triggered Allen's release clause by offering him £15 million to transfer. A clause in Allen's contract dictates that Swansea must allow him to leave if Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea make such a lucrative offer.
Therefore, Allen is as good as gone.
Lewis is reporting that Allen will join Liverpool and new boss Brendan Rodgers within 24 hours. Rodgers was Lewis' manager at Swansea previously, so the two of them figure to have a good relationship and understanding with regards to what Allen's role will be.
The 22-year-old Welsh midfielder didn't exactly put up eye-popping statistics for Swansea last season, with four goals and two assists in 36 games, but it wasn't a banner year for Swansea either. Allen started four games for Great Britain at the London Olympics before Team GB was knocked out, though, so he gained some valuable, high-level experience.
Liverpool finished just eighth in the EPL last season and is clearly looking for a spark of some kind. The Reds have some talented midfielders, such as Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole, but it would be fair to say that there is a lack of top-notch players at the position. Allen isn't an elite player yet, but he can do a little bit of everything and continues to improve each year.
The Reds absolutely have the potential to be dynamic offensively with Luis Suarez up top, but they are trying to find the correct combination to get the most out of him.
Allen already has a lot of experience in the EPL at a pretty young age, so he could possibly be the right guy to step in and link up with Suarez right away.
With the season so close to starting, though, I would expect Liverpool to integrate him in over time. Perhaps Allen won't be a huge factor over the first quarter of the season, but he should get his chance at some point, and I believe his skill set will be a very nice fit for a team that is trying to turn things around.
Allen is a promising player who didn't have much of a future at Swansea. The elite teams have a monopoly at the top of the Premier League, and it has been that way for a very long time. It is extremely difficult to break into that top tier of teams and I'm not sure that a club like Swansea will ever be able to do it.
I'm sure Swansea would love to be able to keep Allen, but Liverpool's offer is certainly a fair one.
While Swansea is being forced into making the move because of the contract stipulation, I'm sure it would have done it anyway. The Reds needed to do something to intrigue the fanbase, and perhaps signing Allen will do the trick.
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