This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to The Daily Mail, Liverpool have opened “preliminary talks” with James Milner over potentially signing a new contract.
The 33-year-old arrived from rivals Manchester City in the summer of 2015, and will be out of contract at Anfield next summer – as such, he will be free to speak to foreign clubs over a free transfer in the January window.
However, Jurgen Klopp has reiterated the midfielder remains “incredibly important” to the Reds, and that “nobody is nervous” about his existing deal with the club running down.
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The Daily Mail further add that conversations have taken place between Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards and Milner’s representatives – a change from earlier this summer when the veteran admitted he hadn’t heard anything about talks over a new contract.
He may not be a Mohamed Salah or Virgil van Dijk, but Milner’s influence on the team cannot be questioned. He has already featured multiple times this season, whilst last year, he made 45 appearances across all competitions – a total that saw him occupy five different positions.
The ultimate utility man, the versatile ace solves a lot of headaches for Klopp. Need cover at left-back? No problem, Milner’s got it covered. Need cover at right-back? No problem, he’s got that covered too. Need him to do the dirty work in midfield? Yeah, you’ve guessed it, he does that as well.
The 33-year-old is as all-action as they come, registering an impressive 0.8 shots, 1.4 key passes and 1.4 tackles per game in the Premier League last season. It’s little wonder therefore that his manager remarked “he’s so talented it’s unbelievable”.
So with time running out, the Reds must ensure they get a new contract sorted out for the midfielder as soon as possible. The likes of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane may be the guys who get all the plaudits, but it’s players like Milner who create the foundation.