Joe Allen's career arc at Liverpool has been an irregular one. Brought in as the first signing of the Brendan Rodgers era, the Welsh Xavi was supposed to be the torchbearer for the possession-oriented paradigm of the new manager, and as the squad adapted to the different demands in the early phase, he was a standout in midfield, combining confidence in possession with relentless pressing and effective positioning in defense. As the season rolled on and the midfield trio of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva established itself as first choice, however, he more often found himself out of favour, and a shoulder injury ended his season in March.
When his manager went full scorched-earth in his second season, the diminutive midfielder again struggled to fit into a side that bypassed midfield at a high rate in order to make the most of the explosive talents of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, and again, his versatility worked against him in a highly specialised system that saw little room for generalists. Injury troubles and a manager who struggled to find much tactical consistency conspired to make his third season another uneven affair, and despite looking to have found his position under Jürgen Klopp, the 2015/16 season saw him amass the fewest minutes in his Liverpool career.
Now, with only a year left on his contract and the European Championships looming, Welsh Jesus is keeping it real:
"I think it hinges on the pre-season plans and what exactly the club are hoping to do, everything comes into that.
"The acquisitions and who they are going to get in, and until all that happens then it is difficult to answer that question.
"There was a conversation with the club in terms of what the future did hold for me, if I would feature more or if I would feature in the plans moving forward. They made it clear at that stage I wouldn’t be moving anywhere.
"I knew where I stood, and it was good to have that conversation and know that I had the second half of the season to look forward to with Liverpool.
"As soon as the season finished with Liverpool I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to have any distractions and I am fully focussed and engaged on purely all things Wales’. That’s where I am at the moment.
"We have had an intense season and I’m sure there will be a week or two after the Euros before any discussions are had."
So that's pretty straight shooting. If he doesn't get a new contract - and the combination of limited playing time in such a high volume season along with new midfield signings, both rumoured and real, indicates that he probably won't - it seems probable that the chicken lover will be moved on in the summer. A free agent 12 months from now, Allen likely wouldn't command anywhere near his original transfer fee of £15m, but any reasonable sum is better than none, and if deemed surplus to requirements in the post-Euros meeting with his manager, the Welsh international might very well be pulling on a different shirt next year.