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Why James Milner Should Resist Man City

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The rise and rise of James Milner has been one of the great domestic stories in recent years and, with Manchester City loitering outside Villa Park with a rumoured £24 million, it seems that the Leeds-born midfielder could be set to renew acquaintances with Wayne Rooney in Manchester, eight years after they first took the Premier League by storm.

Milner burst onto the scene in 2002 when he became the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history with a goal against Sunderland in a 2-1 victory for Leeds. That goal broke a record set a couple of months previous by Wayne Rooney, then at Everton, and Milner and Rooney became great English hopes for the future.

Milner’s progress since seems laboured in comparison to Rooney’s but the Manchester United striker is a one in a million. A player who at 16 was physically, mentally and technically superior than anything seen in England for a long, long time.

After being initially used as a striker in his first appearances with Leeds, before settling as a winger at Newcastle, it has been Milner’s performances alongside Stiliyan Petrov at the heart of Villa’s midfield that have caught the eye of many, including that of England coach Fabio Capello.

However, joining the blue half of Manchester would be a mistake for both parties involved. It is hard to see where both his playing side and personality would fit in amongst the potential glitz and glamour that Sheikh Mansour hopes to bring to the Eastlands and, if anything, Man City require creativity. Also, at this stage in his development it would suit Milner to stay at Aston Villa. It’s a club that has stability, is ambitious and has a core of young English players all looking to achieve something together.

City are at a pivotal point in their project to break into the top four and start to challenge for major honours, but the lack of Champions League football means that, for at least one more year, the likes of Kaka are out of reach. But it is not crazy to assume that Roberto Mancini could put together a team capable of actually winning the league next season and despite Chelsea’s impressive goal tally, this has definitely been a year where the so-called ‘Top Four’ have regressed.

A move to the red half of Manchester would surely be a more sensible option. Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be a fan and Milner’s energy and versatility would inject some much needed life into a midfield that has faded in the last year and is in desperate need of a revamp.

What also does this say for Aston Villa? Martin O’Neil put to bed the rumours he was leaving this summer but its no secret that he is dismayed at owner Randy Learner’s decision to tighten the purse strings and, after Gareth Barry moved to Man City last year, the former Celtic boss will not relish the thought of losing a star midfield for a second summer running.

If Barcelona are only willing to depart with £30m for Cesc Fabregas, then £24m for James Milner seems a tad steep. But given his age and his ability adapt to each level as he encounters it, if Milner does end up in Manchester this summer you wouldn’t bet against him rising to the occasion once again.

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  1. Lawrence

    May 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    To be honest, I think this is bullshit! I am a Villa fan and really, I think Milner should stay, I mean at the end of the day, a man is a free man; he’s allowed to do whatever he want’s to do, but going somewhere like Manchester City or Manchester United; where all they will do is offer him like £100,000 a-week wage packet, he wont get played at all! Okay fair enough Man City managed to fluke Barry into joining them, but look how long, and how much hassle it took, to find a player to replace him, think if we did’nt have Milner, who would be playing next to Petrov?? In conclusion, if Milner does leave, at least let it be a big money offer, say £30 million? Because then we could at least find someone good to replace him, and hopefully find some more funds from Randy 🙂 put those two bits of money together and buy a decent 20 goal a-season striker! I could’nt bare the thought of loosing Milner this summer, first Mellberg then Laursen, then Barry, and now, possibly Milner! All in the space of 2 and a half years! Let’s just ope he does’nt go!

  2. Andy

    May 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Makes me laugh how people slag us city fans off, buying the premier league, just another chelsea and all that business. Its only jealousy that their own club hasn’t been fortunate to get the Mega Rich owners we have. Besides, chelsea had loads of money and bought about 10 foreign players, Man city are setting a good example to the EPL showing interest and aqquiring english talent. Purchasing Gareth Barry, showing interest in John Terry = proven english quality. purchasing Adam Johnson showing interest in James Milner = up and coming english talent. Makes me proud to be a blue.

  3. Evan

    May 19, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    terrible article. get a life.

  4. Dave

    May 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Villain from Texas – a bit naive. It’s clear Villa can’t match Spurs or City in the transfer market and Milner may well feel (as Barry did) that Villa are doing great to be where they are, but that they aren’t likely to go much further. Of course money doesn’t buy success but it at least buys the prospect, the possibility of muscling in and having a crack at the title at some stage. Villa have zero chance of achieving this given the level of investment their foreign owner is willing/able to make. Don’t be surprised if Milner recognises this and if Lerner fancies the cash.

  5. Villain-from-Texas

    May 19, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Milner isn’t going anywhere. MON won’t sell him and Lerner has stated that he doesn’t want MON to sell him. Also, this—“its no secret that he is dismayed at owner Randy Learner’s decision to tighten the purse strings”—is a bit daft. Have you not paid attention to recent statements by MON and Lerner?

  6. Gary

    May 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

    City are a fun side to watch and they are certain to improve, I don’t begrudge them bidding on Milner. That price tag is excessive, though. I support Spurs. As an avid but not quite rabid fan, I think the improvement of all those clubs trying to break into the top is going to make for an even more competitive season and even better viewing than this one.

    Liverpool is up in the air. Their recovery could begin this summer if they get started sooner than later but if they wait too long I see the recovery lasting long into the future. Arsenal will be a powerful side even w/out Fabregas though that will unsettle them. I think by necessity we will see Wenger loosen the purse-strings this summer. A keeper, central defender and striker (Chamakh it seems) should do it. If Ferguson thinks one striker is going to fit the bill for United this season, I welcome him to try his luck with that. Chelsea seem more likely to repeat in the league and because of the hunger for Champions League glory and a quality manager molding the squad, they are certain to be actively building this summer. It pains me to say this. Chelsea are my least favorite.
    With all the changes/ potential stagnation at the top, Spurs and City could legitimately be shooting for the second and and third positions. Aston Villa and Everton are similarly capable, if less well-endowed, of taking third or fourth position.
    The coming season looks more likely to produce the closest competition amongst the top 8 teams for the top 4 positions than any I’ve seen since I’ve followed the EPL.

  7. Dave

    May 19, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Oh blimey, not yet ANOTHER article about the rights and wrongs of what players will and won’t come to City or what players should or should not consider moving to Eastlands. Yes, all us City fans know that any player wanting to join us is an overpriced, overpaid mercenary. We also know that the Sheikhs are soon going to get bored with us and leave us in billions of debt. And I presume all these articles are just an excuse to provoke non-City fans to have a pop and City fans to defend their team. Well, I for one, am not going to fall for it. i’m not going to be another little fishy trapped in your net. Oh buggar, I just have. Damn.

  8. Pete

    May 19, 2010 at 4:19 am

    TJ, do you really think Mancini wants to play a system where we have no box to box midfielder or alternatively no creative midfielder? Hughes spent heavily but left us with only Ireland as an alternative to the numerous holding midfielders that Hughes bought. Unfortunately by time Mancini arrived, Ireland was laready out of the team and massively out of form. I would expect Mancini to address this during the summer whether it be MIlner and/or an out and out creative midfielder that gets signed.

  9. Dave

    May 19, 2010 at 4:09 am

    People who criticise City for trying to buy Milner – just think before engaging keyboard. City have brought in new foreign ownership to loosen the purse strings and are trying to invest in players to move the club forward. Isn’t this EXACTLY what Villa did with Randy Lerner and James Milner? You seem to judge the two clubs as being at opposite ends of the moral compass when the ONLY difference between the two clubs approach here is the depth of the foreign owners’ pockets.

  10. Falcao

    May 19, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Will Sir Alex approach him? Good prospect in the centre. Cheers! :p

  11. JoshTarn

    May 19, 2010 at 3:24 am

    Agree wholeheartedly with Jake on this one. If he went to City Milner would find himself pushed out by some £100M mega-signing after one season. In the long term United would be a great place for him as they play a classic 4-4-2 formation making use of their wide players. Moreover, City don’t deserve to buy their way to the top – having one Chelsea is enough.

  12. Blue_heart

    May 19, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Milner has had one exceptional season. This proves nothing, it could just be World Cup desperation on his part.
    If he can keep up his current standards and improve over another season maybe he would be worth the price tag.

    Until then he it worth about £12-£14m.

    City are looking to strengthen their squad.. yes, but they also need those that will be able to raise their game to CL standard in the future. This is not arrogance just ambition.

    I’m not to sure that Milner fits the bill anyway. City need to see what he does next season and then come to a decision.

  13. City Slicker

    May 19, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Its all very well speculating whether he should go to United or not but can you see them affording to buy him? As for this myth of populating the team with a host of Kaka’s its the story the gormless media want you to swallow. Look at Tevezs experiences at City and United. He has flourished into the player he knew he was at City. At United his progress was stifled. Berbaflop has hardly gone on to greater and bigger things either has he? Looks also what play for United did to Forlan and Verons careers. If younger players are good enough they will suceed its as simple as that. As for Bellamy, Mancini has already said he is likely to stay. City fans wouldn’t want him to go. As for SWP, his career went backwards when he joined Chelsea. He has never really been the same player since he went there, Unfortunately his thick father hasn’t helped his prospects either. Paid 60k a week offred a rise of 10k and he is being mugged off? Plenty of players in the PL are well below that figure. Laughable cobblers from rent a gob.

  14. Jake Islas

    May 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Good post. I don’t see him fitting in with Man City whatsoever. Also, I don’t think it would be good for him because after a year City will be looking to get rid of him or he’ll be on the bench. They want him right now because he is quality but also because he is within their range of quality at this point in time. By next year when they are looking to fill the pitch with top players similar to Kaka’s quality, he will be offloaded just like SWP and Bellamy. I definitely agree he would fit better with United as they seem to do a fantastic job with midfielders with Milner’s style. However, Nani has started to emerge and I believe Valencia improved by leaps and bounds over the course of the season, so what do you do with those 3 wingers?

  15. TJ

    May 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    As much as I don’t want Milner to leave Villa, if he does I would far rather he went to Man Utd than Man City or even Chelsea. I think he would be a guaranteed starter for Man Utd and would quickly become a key player for them. But City insist on playing 2 strict halves of a team, a defense and an attack. The central midfielders are very limited, and the wingers are allowed to run free. I don’t think that would suit Milner as he is a box-to-box player. I also think that he would be very overshadowed at Chelsea by Lampard, whilst being a good long term replacement right now Milner would be forced to play Wide, further back or on the bench until Lampard declines. So I say to you Milner STAY AT VILLA! And if you must go, go to Man Utd.

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