Liverpool believe their manager, Brendan Rodgers, is perfectly entitled to return to his old club Swansea City for players who wish to leave, despite the club's accusation that he has broken a promise with a bid for Joe Allen.
Swansea's position on the midfielder leaving had started to soften and it became clear last week that a £14m bid may be too good to refuse. But their chairman, Huw Jenkins, was infuriated yesterday when details of the release clause in Allen's contract – allowing him to leave if a £15m bid comes in from one of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal – leaked out.
Liverpool are understood to have bid £12.5m but yesterday's development has potential to cause friction when a likely second bid comes in for the player, who is expected to start Great Britain's match against Senegal at Old Trafford tonight. Swansea said yesterday evening that Liverpool had "expressed an interest" in Allen, despite "a written agreement with Liverpool not to approach any players within the 12-month period of former manager Brendan Rodgers leaving for Anfield."
Their anger over the publication of release clause details was also obvious. "The club is not prepared to release any details on whether any formal bids have been made at this stage or details of Joe's contract, which are private and confidential," Swansea's statement said. "The club is extremely disappointed that speculation regarding certain aspects of his contract have been released to the media by parties outside the club. Fortunately the club is in a financial position where it does not need to sell any of its players."
Swansea feel that Rodgers has an unfair advantage, in being privy to the minutiae of Allen's contract, and the view from South Wales last night was that the northern Irishman has lost the goodwill which he had retained after leaving the Liberty Stadium for Anfield. Rodgers' predecessor Roberto Martinez experienced the same backlash when he went back to take Jordi Gomez to Wigan Athletic. Rodgers said last week that if Allen was subject to bids from elsewhere he would make his move for the 22-year-old.