So the transfer saga of the summer is over as Manchester City have finally completed the signing of England international James Milner with Stephen Ireland moving to Villa Park as part of the deal.
While Manchester City have undoubtedly got themselves a top quality player we will have to wait and see whether or not the move turns out to be a good one for Milner. City fans will take to Milner as the supporters of all his previous teams have done because he not only brings with him an abundance of quality but a great work ethic. However, the big question remains was the time right for Milner to move on?
Since moving to Villa permanently in August 2008 Milner’s game developed greatly under the guidance of Martin O’Neill. Playing alongside other young English prospects such as Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor the team flourished and established themselves as a top six Premier League team looking to make the next step and break into the ‘big four’. Milner played a big part in this and his impressive performances hadn’t gone unnoticed as he established himself in the England squad. Playing week in, week out, Milner was clearly enjoying his football and the timing of this move to City just seems strange in my opinion. While O’Neill has departed Villa they still have a squad capable of having another impressive campaign and Milner would be an integral part of this as his performance at the weekend showed.
The Villa side know each other inside out and play as a team and this is something that will take time to establish at Eastlands. Milner may also have to come to terms with the fact that he will not play every game. I don’t think he has moved for the money but that will accusation will be thrown at him because he will be getting paid significantly more than he was at Villa Park. A former teammate of Milner’s Gareth Barry made a similar move the season before and his game has not progressed a great deal since then, some would argue it has taken a step back. Milner is a great player and I would like him to do well at Manchester City but can’t help but feel he wouldn’t have gone far wrong by staying put at Villa for a while longer. As the saying goes, if it isn’t broken don’t try and fix it and Aston Villa football club despite O’Neill’s departure is anything but broken.