One of the top names on Manchester City’s extensive summer transfer list is Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, and while their attempts to land the England man have fallen short thus far, the saga could soon be over.
In speaking to Sky Sports News, Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill revealed that Milner has already admitted that Milner has stated his wishes to leave, and O’Neill admitted that Milner’s wish could be granted if City can improve their initial offer.
“I had a conversation with James before the World Cup and he intimated that he’d like to go.”
“City made an offer but it did not meet our valuation. I’m sure matters will be resolved soon. James is back next week having had an extended holiday.
“There is a difference of valuation at this moment between the buying club and the selling club.
“That may well be resolved and if that is the case then absolutely fine.
“I think James’ agent has told our chief executive that he wouldn’t be signing a new contract.
“Obviously that puts a different slant on things, like everything else.
“If a fee is agreed, at the end of the day, the player can leave.”
If a deal is to happen, the sooner the better, the £25m-£30m would come in handy for spicing up what has been thus far been an extremely quiet summer for Aston Villa.
If Milner does leave, O‘Neill will look to Ashley Young and Stewart Downing to have big seasons, and he could also look to replace some of the lost production with the purchase of Celtic attacker Aiden McGeady. O’Neill gave McGeady his Celtic debut in the 2003/04 season, and he became a regular in the following campaign, which was O’Neill’s final season at the club. Last season, McGeady had seven goals and 14 assists in 35 league appearances, and just last week, Celtic manager Neil Lennon said that he believes the Ireland international wants to leave the club.
Some of the funds could also be used to bring in an experienced striker, with Robbie Keane and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar among the names mentioned as Villa targets this summer.
If O’Neill spends wisely, Villa could end up being better without Milner in the end, but it remains to be seen if and when he’ll have to start planning for life without Milner this summer.