Manchester City are continuing to flex their muscles in the transfer market with another massive signing looking set to join the club shortly. Aston Villa has confirmed that Milner has asked to leave them to join Manchester City and the club have agreed as long as City can match the valuation. Martin O’Neill, quite rightly has no intention of standing in Milner’s way knowing that he wants to leave and not wanting a protracted situation such as the Gareth Barry fiasco from 2008.
Of course the situation is very different but O’Neill realises the futility in keeping an unhappy player who could bring in upwards of £20 million in to Villa Park to strengthen the rest of the team. By looking to cash in on their most saleable asset, O’Neill is putting the club before anything else right now. Next season looks set to be the tightest Premiership race since it began with the Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal now realising that Manchester City and Tottenham will be up there again and Everton seemingly avoiding the usual summer injury crisis.
Add to that the fact that Liverpool can’t be any worse than last year and already shipping out the dead wood of the Benitez reign and of course Villa and you have 8 teams who could realistically be closer than ever before. Villa realise that to have any chance of even standing still, decisions like this have to be made for the long term benefit of the club.
It’s always disappointing when a player leaves you for what you consider at the least a rival side, but such is the financial muscle of City now, Villa simply need to get the very best deal they can to enable the team to better without Milner. Sometimes it’s hard to contemplate that you have to sell a great player to make the team better but sometimes you just have to do that. Martin O’Neill has been around long enough to know what he has to do to make Villa better.
City though are beginning to stockpile talent at an alarming rate, though yet to sign a truly world class player to push them into the bracket of Europe’s elite clubs just yet. They are now beginning to enter a second phase of replacing the players they signed to push them up the table with ones they feel can push them into the top 4. As last season proved, that was easier said than done and all the predictions were that Manchester City would replace Arsenal as one of the top four.
We now know that situation didn’t come to pass and it was Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool that swapped positions and City have shown a ruthless streak in strengthening an already good side with some interesting and inspired signings. The left side of the team looks set for a complete overhaul, with Silva and Kolarov coming in to join the January sigining Adam Johnson. Yaya Toure has come in to strengthen the midfield and Jerome Boateng who showed such adaptability and skill during the World Cup for Germany now looks a snip at £10.5 million.
Milner’s signing would take the clubs spending to over the £100 million mark this close season and with several players looking set to leave Manchester City, it seems that the club will be looking for another 2 or 3 players to bring in before the transfer deadline window shuts on August 31st. Perhaps it is this overhaul of the City playing staff that O’Neill may use to his advantage and look to bring in someone surplus to Roberto Mancini’s plans to strengthen Villa. One thing is certain, James Milner will be wearing sky blue come the opening day fixture at White Hart Lane.
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