With the Olympics over for Team GB in football, negotiations between Liverpool and Swansea for Joe Allen were free to continue in public today as Swansea's new manager sought to set the player's value based on what Liverpool have paid for other midfielders in the past.
"He is worth a lot of money because he's a good player," said Laudrup. "The manager knows him and knows if he wants to change the way Liverpool play he needs a player in the midfield like Joe Allen. But he also knows he's very, very expensive. We saw they bought a couple of midfielders in the last few years for a lot of money but, with all due respect, Joe is on a level above."
It's confirmation of what most have suspected but which hadn't previously been acknowledged by anybody actually dealing with the club: Liverpool's reputation as poor transfer negotiators who can be made to overpay precedes them. While disappointing for fans, this is hardly a huge surprise after the past three windows have seen the likes of Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, and Jordan Henderson brought in for fees that—no matter one's opinion of the player—are vastly inflated.
"In my opinion," the Swansea manager continued, "if [Henderson] is worth £17m then Joe is worth more, perhaps over £20m. I'm talking as a football man, not as a chairman, but if the chairman asks my advice then I will tell him the same."
Though of course, as reported earlier, Allen's contract contains a limited £15M release clause which would allow Liverpool to capture the player for far less than the £20M minimum Laudrup suggests he's worth. As such, the message from Swansea remains blindingly clear: If Liverpool want him, they must pay the full amount that would nullify his contract or leave the Welsh club alone to prepare for the new season.