The relationship between Martin O’Neill and Randy Lerner could be considered one of the best in the league but James Milner’s proposed move to Eastlands has forced O’Neill to admit he is not the sole authority at Villa Park.
Due to the amount of money in football in this day and age, the relationship between chairman and manager is scrutinised on a regular basis. Player transfers are often the bone of contention, a wrestle between keeping key players and business instinct to sell them at the right price.
O’Neill admits “”It is really in the owner’s hand at the end of the day” (Daily Telegraph)
This surely begs the question as to whether Lerner should have a say on the sale of players at all.
This is a footballing matter and perhaps it would be wise to let O’Neil decide whether selling Milner would be a good move for the club.
Milner was key for Villa last season and his versatility would be a credit to most Premier League sides meaning the decision (whoever that will rest with) to sell him would be a big blow if Villa have their sights on reaching the Champions League next season.
Whilst it is clear O’Neill wants Milner to stay, perhaps the quality of the squad would benefit from the 30 million pounds that the young England midfielder is arguably not worth.
Manchester City are set to have a clear-out of some extremely good players in wake of their summer spending and the likes of Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Craig Bellamy have all been linked as part of the deal for Milner.
By seemingly passing the buck to Lerner, O’Neill may soon be searching for a replacement for his winger after detailing that “Whatever they come up with, we will go with. I am not going to be running around dictating. If you own a football club, you can do what you want with it” during their pre-season exploits in Portugal.
It may be concluded that whilst O’Neill hangs desperately onto the bleak hope of keeping such an integral part of the set-up at Villa Park his opinion is overshadowed by Randy Lerner’s business acumen, selling a player for far more than he has yet proved to be worth.