Man Utd to lure Liverpool star and boyhood Red Devils fan Joe Allen
Following their humiliating 4-0 hammering by League One side MK Dons, Manchester United are predictably being linked with a raft of emergency recruits to patch up the holes in their squad.
In a surprising twist, however, it appears the Red Devils, 14/1 to win the Premier League, could attempt to prise Joe Allen from rivals Liverpool, as they grow desperate in their hunt for midfield reinforcements.
If the rumoured switch were to materialise, it would be the first time in 76 years that a player has been allowed to cross the bitter divide between the northwest giants.
Allen is said to be valued at around £20m by the Reds, but has never been a guaranteed first choice pick at Anfield, despite his long professional relationship with Brendan Rodgers.
Wales international Allen began his career at Swansea City, emerging through the youth ranks to make 150 senior appearances and become a key cog in midfield, before following Rodgers to Liverpool in 2012.
After making 65 outings for the Anfield side, it is thought the Reds are ready to move the former Swans star on to make room for new signings such as German youngster Emre Can.
Now 24, it is believed midfield anchor Allen would be keen to swap the Mersey for Manchester in the hope of securing further first-team opportunities.
It seems unlikely Liverpool would wish to do any deal with the Red Devils, but offloading a player they may view as surplus to requirements would be a damning indicator that Rodgers does not view United as title rivals.
Boyhood Red Devils fan Allen, who has 16 caps for his country, is not a marquee signing in line with the recent acquisition of £59.7m man Angel Di Maria, but could still be a valuable addition to Louis van Gaal’s struggling side.
Allen is believed to be a backup option for the Old Trafford giants, who are still thought to be heavily interested in Juventus star Arturo Vidal.
Recent reports suggest concerns over Vidal’s fitness have meant United are reluctant to fork out a large cash fee for the box-to-box midfielder.
However, it appears fringe men Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez could now be used as makeweights to smooth out the potential deal.
Versatile Ajax defender Daley Blind has also been linked with a summer switch to Old Trafford, after impressing under Van Gaal at the World Cup. His agent has insisted United have yet to make contact, but rumours persist that ex-Ajax and Red Devils iconic keeper Edwin van der Sar is in Manchester to help negotiate a transfer.
United are odds-on at 8/11 to finish outside the top four and, after yet another humbling result and having conceded seven goals in three games, Red Devils fans will be hoping that at least one of these mooted moves bears fruit.