CHERRIES are reportedly keeping a close eye on Joe Allen as his contract with Stoke City edges close to expiry.
Alongside fellow promoted side Fulham, Cherries are rumoured to be tracking the 32-year-old in order to add both depth and experience to their midfield.
The cultured midfielder has played over 200 games for Stoke since arriving at the Britannia Stadium in the summer of 2016, after his standout performances for Wales at the 2016 Euros.
So impressive was the miniature midfielder that he was named in UEFA’s team of the tournament, after the Welsh sent shockwaves around Europe by reaching the semi-finals.
Jokingly nicknamed the ‘Welsh Xavi’ by previous manager Brendan Rodgers, who worked with the midfielder at both Liverpool and Swansea, Allen is also supposedly on the list of clubs on the continent, with clubs in Spain believing his possession-based style would transfer well to La Liga.
However, the club linked most heavily with the Welsh international is boyhood club Swansea, who have repeatedly tried to bring the central-midfielder back to SA1 over the years.
Those closest to the former Liverpool man state that Allen is also desperate to return to his native Wales.
Former teammate of Allen, Owain Tudur Jones, has claimed that Allen will accept a “quarter of his wages” to return to Swansea, indicating that despite interest from Premier League clubs, Allen may already have his heart set on a move home.
Current Swansea boss Russell Martin has also made public overtures, stating that: “He loves this club, I love him as a player.
“I will say it. I would love to (sign him).
“We’ll have to wait and see. It will depend on a lot of things. We have a lot of midfielders at the club. We have some midfielders that haven’t played very much.
“People are going to have to leave for people to come in.
“But Joe is someone who would fit here perfectly. He knows the club, the club knows him.
“I am sure he has got plenty of offers and I am sure at some point we will sit down and have a chat about him.”
Any potential transfer talks would probably take place after June, with Wales set for key international fixtures.
Allen will likely be at the heart of any potential Welsh success in their play-off final against either Ukraine or Scotland, with current Cherries Kieffer Moore and Chris Mepham also likely to be involved.