Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup: 'Joe Allen's worth at least £20 million'
MICHAEL Laudrup has claimed Joe Allen is worth more than £20 million as he prepares to sort out the Liverpool target's future.
Swansea City's new manager met Allen for the first time yesterday after the midfielder returned to his club following Team GB's Olympic exit over the weekend.
And while he opted not to discuss Allen's situation then, Laudrup concedes that it must be sorted out one way or another soon.
Liverpool have tabled an offer of £12.5 million plus Jonjo Shelvey on loan which Swansea have not accepted or rejected.
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An offer of £15 million would trigger a clause in Allen's contract which forces Swansea to sell, although the Liberty club could try to block any Liverpool bid because of an agreement in the Brendan Rodgers compensation package which said the Reds would not move for any of their players before next summer.
Laudrup says it will be up to Huw Jenkins and the rest of the Swansea board to decide what offer they would accept for Allen.
But the Dane has pointed to Liverpool's recent transfer dealings as a guideline for a possible Allen fee.
Former Anfield boss Kenny Dalglish paid £20 million for winger Stewart Downing last summer and agreed a deal which could eventually be worth as much as £20 million for Sunderland's Jordan Henderson.
"I don't think when you talk about figures you have to talk to me — I am not the one who is saying he (Allen) can go for this or that," Laudrup said.
"That is up to the chairman and the board. We are talking big money here — he is worth a lot of money because he is a very good player.
"The manager (Rodgers) knows him. He knows that if he wants to change the way Liverpool play, he needs a player in midfield like Joe Allen.
"He is young, he has already shown he can play at the highest level, and Liverpool know he is very, very expensive.
"You have seen they have brought in a couple of midfielders in the last years for a lot of money and, with all respect to them, Joe is a level above them.
"If they paid £16 million or £17 million (for Jordan Henderson), he is a good player, but Joe is on another level if I'm honest.
"In my opinion he is worth more than that. If they paid £17 million then Joe must be worth at least £20 million."
Allen is due to return to training alongside fellow Olympians Scott Sinclair and Neil Taylor tomorrow.
None of them is under consideration for tonight's Liberty friendly with Blackpool, but Laudrup says all three could feature when Swansea host Stuttgart in their final pre-season warm-up game this weekend.
First, though, he is likely to hold talks with Allen about Liverpool's interest.
"He came to the training ground (yesterday) and we had a small talk, but I didn't think it was a proper moment to talk about his future," Laudrup added.
"But of course we have to sit down and talk about what the player wants so we can say something official, otherwise there will be rumours every day until August 31.
"I don't think that's in anyone's interest. We need to know what he wants, then before the season starts we'll know what could happen.
"If he wants to stay, he stays. If he says 'No I have the possibility (to leave)' then okay, we will look at that.
"Joe is 22, he has played one year in the Premier League and everyone is talking about figures and how much he can earn.
"He can be set up for the rest of his life, but he will do that anyway in one or two years because he has a lot of talent.
"Every day people will be asking him what he is doing and it's better to get it sorted out as quickly as possible."
Laudrup has stressed that Swansea are under no financial pressure to sell and that Allen will not leave unless he wants to.
But if the player is to depart during this window, Laudrup wants time to find someone to fill his boots.
"The worst thing that could happen is that he leaves on August 31 and we cannot buy a replacement," he said.
"That has happened to me before, but I know that will not happen here."
Laudrup has dismissed the idea of Swansea taking a player on loan from Liverpool as part of the Allen deal.
"Maybe if we can have (Luis) Suarez," he joked.
"No, let's be fair — we have got good players here.
"I really can't see a player who is not in their starting XI who can come and be in our starting XI."
Laudrup, meantime, insists there has been no interest in any other Swansea players despite speculation surrounding the likes of Taylor, Sinclair and Ashley Williams.