Liverpool are favourites to sign Manchester City’s James Milner, which begs the question: why have City not tied the 29-year-old down to a further contract and risked losing him to one of their title competitors for free?
It is reported that a huge contract offer is on the table from City but Arsenal, as well as Liverpool, are reportedly very keen on signing the Yorkshireman and have begun talks with him.
The utility man has been a crucial member of City’s team since signing for the club for a reported £26m from Aston Villa in 2010. In that time he has won two Premier League trophies and an FA Cup and has been part of the most successful period in City’s history.
James Milner Could Be The Signing Of The Summer
He is a manager’s dream. He is prepared to play in any number of positions with the same heart and desire that he has shown throughout his career and he has the engine to run all day. When many around him are found wanting, Milner can always be relied upon to keep striving for victory.
One game last season springs to mind as a good example of Milner’s attributes. It was by no means an isolated incident in what was a poor season for City on the whole. A lacklustre Manchester City outfit were facing a possible shock exit from the FA Cup when they were trailing 1-0 to mid-table Championship side Sheffield Wednesday. Milner was introduced to the game in a forward role. His work-rate and movement conspired to rescue City from defeat as he bagged a brace of goals to turn the tie around late on and carry his team to victory. It is performances like that, when other team-mates didn’t appear up for the fight, which epitomise Milner’s career and makes him an attractive proposition for clubs.
Whoever signs Milner this summer, and expect it to be another top club, will have signed a very important and reliable player who still has a lot to give in his career. His wages may be high but landing the former Leeds, Newcastle and Aston Villa player on a free transfer will be a huge coup and potentially one of the best pieces of business in the whole summer.
He does not seem to be a player who is swayed by huge financial rewards, rather he is a player who wants to play football regularly at club level and add to his 53 England caps. Thus, he will most likely move to the team who can offer him the most playing time.
City will no doubt spend big again in the summer, therefore opportunities could be limited and Arsenal have an abundance of midfielders when fully fit. Could Liverpool, minus Steven Gerrard, be the best option for Milner? Their alarming form at the end of the season could put off any potential signings as they don’t appear to be improving as a side, and therefore that might sway him away from Anfield. Will another top side see him as a viable option?
Yes, Milner is not a flair player, nor is he someone who will have supporters on the edge of their seats. He has been criticised in the past, particularly at England level, but nobody can deny his enthusiasm when playing for both club and country and that will be exactly what a manager will be looking to buy, particularly lower down the table. All clubs would like a James Milner-type in their team, and at least one or two of the teams in the top six are lacking someone of his ilk.
Time will tell as to where Milner ends up but whoever is victorious in the race for his signature will no doubt gain a magnificent professional with plenty left to give the game at the top level. There could be many sides, including City, who may rue the fact that they did not make more of an effort to land one of the best utility players in the business.