Belfast Telegraph

Keeping important players 'is key'

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup is determined to hang on to reported Liverpool target Joe Allen.

The midfielder is rumoured to be in the sights of Reds manager Brendan Rodgers despite an agreement not to raid his former club for a year. Laudrup was philosophical about the prospect of a bid for the 22-year-old Welshman, although he insisted at the moment it is just speculation.

The Dane told Swans Player: "It's a part of football. When people are doing well, and especially when it was Swansea's first season in the Premier League, it's normal some of the players were not that well known at the highest level and it's normal there's interest."

He added: "Of course we want to keep our most important players here. But it's also a part of football to accept that sometimes people leave because the offer is too big for the club or for the player.

"Of course it's not something we'd welcome but you have to deal with it if and when the time arrives. For now it's only speculation."

Allen is one of three Swansea players, along with Neil Taylor and Scott Sinclair, who have been selected for the Great Britain Olympic squad, which Laudrup admits could cause a problem.

He said: "They are not there for pre-season, then there's international games, so if they go all the way to the end they could present themselves here on August 16, only 48 hours before the first game.

"That's not very good for us but it's fantastic for Swansea to have three players going to the Olympics."

Swansea began pre-season training this week, with new signings Jose Manuel Flores and Jonathan de Guzman joining their team-mates.

Laudrup is hoping to add another couple of players before the transfer window shuts at the end of next month and also admitted there are likely to be some departures.

"I don't want to mention any names but I think we need a couple of players still," said Laudrup. "I wanted to come here and give everybody a chance. In the first few weeks we'll watch everybody and then later on we'll have to make some decisions. There will be some positions where we will have maybe too many players."

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