According to reports in the Telegraph, midfielder Joe Allen will meet with Stoke City manager (and longtime friend of Liverpool Football Club) Mark Hughes as a further step towards finalizing a £13m+ move from Anfield. If talks go well between the current and former Welsh internationals, and assuming Stoke City and Allen can come to a quick understanding, a deal could be wrapped up in the next few days. This would allow Allen to join up with his new teammates by midweek, who are en route to Florida as part of their preseason preparations.
The talks come at the end of a busy week in which Liverpool quickly wrapped up deals for defender Ragnar Klavan and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, before also agreeing to a fee for the outbound fullback Brad Smith. It had previously been reported that Liverpool had accepted a bid from Stoke City for Allen's services, before Swansea City muddied the waters by indicating a continued interest in their former player.
Allen was a key component of Wales' eye-opening run at the recently concluded Euro 2016 tournament. Despite his performances on the international stage, and notwithstanding his good spell of form for the club in the latter half of 2015-16, there were always question marks about Allen's long term prospects under Jürgen Klopp. With Wijnaldum's recent arrival and strong showings from Marko Grujic in preseason matches, those prospects grew just a little dimmer, and a parting of ways seems all the more likely.
Swansea City, who are under new and ambitious ownership, may yet have a say in the proceedings, but Stoke City are clearly the frontrunners at this point. Hughes has quietly overseen an intriguing project at Stoke City, and a partnership with the former Wales manager may be a more attractive proposition to Allen. Perhaps in recognition of Stoke City's emerging status, the reports also suggest that any deal with Liverpool will include add-ons in the event of another top ten finish by the Potters. It will come as unwelcome news to a portion of Liverpool supporters, but Allen's departure now seems all but a certainty.