Investor confirms Swansea among ‘multiple’ Allen suitors

Ian Watson
Joe Allen: Happy to make Stoke move

Joe Allen: Happy to make Stoke move

Swansea’s American investor Jason Levien has confirmed the club’s interest in signing Wales midfielder Joe Allen.

Liverpool this week accepted a £13million bid from Stoke for the 26-year-old, but his former club could also feature prominently in the market.

Levien and his fellow American Steve Kaplan head up the consortium that has taken a controlling interest in the Swans, sealing a reported £110million deal.

And asked about Allen – a player sold by Swansea to Liverpool for £15million in 2012 – at the Liberty Stadium on Friday, Levien said: “He is certainly someone we have discussed.

“Thinking about how additions to the club will fit in with the current structure is something we spend a lot of time on, and he is someone who obviously has a great history here.

“He is still a young player. He is someone who multiple clubs are interested in, us included.

“Huw (Jenkins, Swansea chairman) and I are in ongoing discussions. We are leaning on his (Jenkins’) wisdom, and also the right kind of process to figure out whether that’s the right addition for us, but he is someone we have our eye on.”

Regarding any possible bid for Allen, who shone during Wales’ recent run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, Levien added: “I think that is something we are discussing, but we haven’t made a definitive bid on him at this point.”

Potential striker recruitment is also high on the Swans’ shopping list, but a successful swoop for Allen would show an immediate statement of intent from the new owners and inevitably thrill club supporters who watched him excel during Wales’ memorable campaign in France.

Levien revealed that the consortium will purchase “about 68 per cent of the club”, and he is relishing life in the Premier League.

“Steve and I both have the benefit of looking at the lessons learnt from other foreign owners – what’s worked and what hasn’t worked – so we can avoid some of those pitfalls,” he added.

“We think the experience that we both have in team ownership, coming into a community that cares deeply about its club and navigating that and trying to lead it towards success, is something we have done in basketball and football in the US.

“This is my fifth season as the manager/general owner of (MLS club) DC United, and I’ve grown and learnt a lot from that experience.

“I think we take all of the lessons and bring them here. Our love of sport and competition are things that drive us.

“I think the Premier League is exploding in terms of its global presence. For us, our focus is on having success here. If we have success on the pitch and do things the right way, I think there is going to be an organic growth.

“We want to think very strategically about the business side of the club, and how we grow that, and that is going to lead to opportunities to enhance the football side of the club.

“We certainly feel like we have the resources. The increased revenue opportunities will help the club. We want to make sure we have the resources to be successful. We also want to make sure we are doing it in a financially sensible way for the long term.

“We don’t want to put the club in jeopardy. We are not going to make decisions that are not helpful to the health of the club, long term.

“If I look at the lessons learnt from other takeovers, other investors, they’ve maybe promised the world and made massive investments in the beginning, and there is no sustainability in that formula.”

The takeover, which received Premier League ratification on July 1, was completed on Thursday night after a press conference to announce the purchase earlier in the day had been postponed because of a dispute between two minority shareholders.

“I think we’ve bought into a club with an exciting history and a tremendous fan-base, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of it,” Levien said.

“We want the club to be in a better place in five years. We think we can add some commercial value, and we want the club to flourish on the pitch. How we measure that success will be determined over time.”