Joe Allen and Jordon Ibe both face uncertain futures at Liverpool, and Watford could look to capitalise with a double bid ahead of 2016/17.
Allen reaches the final 12 months of his contract this summer, with no extension forthcoming at this stage, while Ibe has endured a tough start to 2016, dropping out of Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team thinking.
The former is likely to leave Liverpool this summer as, at 26, Allen should be playing regular top-flight football, while Liverpool’s move for Mario Gotze this summer could see Ibe look for an exit.
At this stage, Hunter merely states that Watford “want to test both Ibe’s and Allen’s resolve to remain at Anfield,” with no indication that a move is remotely close.
But it could well be that the upwardly mobile Hertfordshire outfit could reach a positive conclusion with Allen – at the very least.
Allen was linked with a return to former club Swansea City in January, with Liverpool blocking the Welsh side’s enquiry, as Klopp wished to keep his players on Merseyside for the campaign.
But having made just three league starts under Klopp, it is likely he will leave at the end of the season.
Ibe, meanwhile, is unlikely to be so easy to coax away from Anfield, having signed a new long-term contract with the club in May, keeping him at Liverpool until at least 2020.
But having seen his first-team spot taken by 18-year-old academy talent Sheyi Ojo in recent weeks, his position is not guaranteed.
Ibe was sent off in the England U21s’ clash with Switzerland on Saturday night, leading manager Gareth Southgate to discuss what he believes to be a lack of confidence in the winger.
“I think players, especially at Jordon’s age, go through peaks and troughs,” he said.
“He doesn’t look full of confidence at the minute.
“We have got to try and help him get to the level that we think we can achieve. He doesn’t look like he is in a rhythm.”
At the age of 20, Ibe has a long career ahead of him, and plenty of time to prove himself to Klopp – and with Adam Lallana in top form for the first team, his lack of game time is understandable.
A loan move to Vicarage Road could be a more beneficial route for both Ibe and Liverpool – though whether Hornets manager Quique Flores would appreciate this remains to be seen.