The Telegraph has reported today that Manchester City are set to make a final offer of £27million for Aston Villa and England midfielder James Milner. Although the 24-year-old midfield star has had a fantastic season for Martin O’Neill’s side, shouldn’t they be biting City’s arm off for the money and cash in on him?
Seeing him leave would obviously be a bitter blow for the Villains’ fans, but the money could be used to strengthen what is essentially a small playing squad.
Milner has enjoyed a rich vein of form playing in a central role for Aston Villa over the last Premier League season scoring a dozen goals from midfield and helping his side into 6th place in the Premier League, reach a Carling Cup final and an FA Cup semi final. His efforts were duly noted by his peers and they voted for him to become the PFA Young Player of the season. He has also been billed as one to watch in the World Cup in South Africa after earning his place in Fabio Capello’s final 23-man squad.
Despite all that I think that O’Neill should cash in on the player whilst the hype surrounding him is on a high and £27m could be too good for them to turn down. However, there is an argument saying that Villa should wait until after the World Cup as Milner’s stock and valuation could soar if he impresses for the Three Lions in South Africa.
Perhaps any potential deal could be made all the more sweet if the Villa persuaded Mancini’s Manchester City to part with out of favour midfielder Stephen Ireland as part of the deal. The former Republic of Ireland international has been described his team mate Nedum Onuoha as the best player at Manchester City and is said to be stunned by Mancini’s criticism of him.
Ireland was one of the better midfield performers of the 2008/09 season scoring 13 goals in all competitions and he could prove to be a wise signing for any club this summer. His former team mate Richard Dunne would certainly welcome him at Aston Villa.
The question is how much do the Villa Park outfit value their most prized asset? Maybe even more than £27m considering his nationality and UEFA’s new home-grown ruling, which has set a limit on the amount of international players allowed to be registered in a 25-man squad as eight of them must have home-grown status. Players who qualify have to have trained in England or Wales for at least three seasons prior to their 21st birthday.
For Milner himself a move to Manchester City could be too good to resist as he stands a good chance of doubling his money. It is a superficial point, but if you were offered more money for another job then you would take it. Also, due to the vast amount of investment into the Eastlands club many believe it’s not a case of if, but when Manchester City will win things and a player like Milner would have a better chance of winning honours there.
So, like Gareth Barry before him Villa will likely lose their main man to Manchester City’s billionaires ones again, but I feel as though Martin O’Neill could do with the money and the club will cope without Milner.