JOE Allen has agreed terms on a bumper contract with Liverpool as the midfielder edges closer to the Swansea City exit door.
The Evening Post can reveal the Allen camp were given permission to speak to Liverpool last month.
And we understand the 22-year-old has settled on an Anfield deal which, a source explained, will “set him up for life”.
However, though Swansea allowed Allen’s representatives to talk terms with Liverpool, they are still haggling over the size of the transfer fee.
Liverpool have tabled an offer of £12.5 million plus a player on loan — thought to be Jonjo Shelvey — which, the Post understands, Swansea have not responded to officially.
Swansea are digging their heels in over the deal, and are thought likely to demand £15 million before allowing the Welsh international to join former boss Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside.
That is the sum which would trigger a release clause in Allen’s Liberty Stadium contract.
The clause states that if Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea or one of the two Manchester clubs offer £15 million for Allen, Swansea must sell.
Swansea, though, may yet say no to Liverpool even if they do up their bid because of a clause in the compensation package agreed when Rodgers left for the Reds earlier this summer.
Swansea suggested last week that Liverpool had broken an agreement between the two clubs by moving for Allen.
The Post understands Rodgers was disappointed by that statement and believes he has done nothing wrong by registering an interest in the Pembrokeshire-born star.
Swansea’s former manager is a huge Allen fan and, for all the wrangling, the likelihood is that he will eventually get his man.
The player now appears to have his heart set on Liverpool, and it seems the move will happen once the clubs settle on a fee.
Swansea are understandably playing hardball as they attempt to get every penny possible for a player they have nurtured since he was just nine years old.
But the club’s hierarchy are also aware that it is difficult to hold on to someone whose head has been turned.
The Allen situation is complicated further by a second clause in the four-year Swansea deal he signed last summer.
It states that if any club outside the big five offers £10 million for his services, Swansea must sanction a deal.
And given that Tottenham are thought to be interested, it is not inconceivable that they could lose Allen for a smaller fee than the £12.5 million-plus-player package which is already on the table.
Allen is in action for the Team GB Olympic squad against Uruguay tonight, when a draw will be enough to see Stuart Pearce’s team reach next weekend’s quarter-finals.
It seems unlikely his club future will be sorted out before Team GB’s Olympic campaign comes to an end.
Liverpool were last night close to freeing up funds — plus a place in their squad — for Allen with midfielder Alberto Aquilani close to joining Fiorentina for £7 million.
Michael Laudrup, meantime, has insisted that the Allen situation has not changed.
“There’s no latest — he is with the GB team at the Olympics so I have not had the opportunity to talk to him since I arrived,” the Swansea boss said.
“There’s nothing concrete. I can read the papers talking about the interest — it’s normal there is interest because the new manager of Liverpool is the ex-manager of Joe Allen.
“We all know he is a very good player, but I can assure you there’s nothing concrete at this moment.
“Let’s see what happens — I can’t really tell you anything else right now.”