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Is Manchester City Move Right For Milner?

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.

Free State Stadium Mangaung/Bloemfontein World Cup 2010 Germany v England (4-1) Match 51 27/06/10 James Milner (England) Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

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.

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  1. Premierleaguered

    August 19, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Money ,Money ,Money !!!! That’s all I want – Milner

    • you watch football 4 a couple of years now your brian clough lol

      August 19, 2010 at 8:21 pm

      very original

  2. Mizzy

    August 19, 2010 at 7:58 am

    As a City fan i think this is potentially a great move for all parties involved. City have been crying out for a linking midfielder ever since the departure of Elano. Hopefully Milner can be that player. Stevie has been in need of a confidence boost coupled with regular playing time. A good debut at Villa park might really be all he needs to put him on track for another season like 08-09. Plus Villa as a team get a couple bags of cash (to spend or not spend as they see fit).

    I can see it working out for everyone. What i dont understand is all the naysayers who think that City will somehow be 2 or 3 positions lower in the table having added Kolarov, Boetang, Silva, Balotelli, and Milner. While only losing Bellamy, Onuoha, and Ireland. We finished a point out of 4th place, despite having 8 straight draws before the new year. Certainly Kolarov and Boateng would have prevented one goal each during that run and we’d have nipped 4th by a point instead of losing out. Would anyone seriously argue that Balotelli isnt a significant step up from Roque Santa Cruz? Anyone think Patrick Viera is better (right now) than James Milner? If its all just jealousy i’m cool with that. Thats part of the game. But for those of you neutrals how could you honestly see anything but several significant upgrades?

  3. Lars

    August 19, 2010 at 3:47 am

    “Money, Money, Money”

    Whatever happened to making championship sides the proper way like Liverpool (back in the day), Arsenal, and United all did? Now, we have Chelsea and Man City (inevitably) buying Premier League titles at the expense of their respective youth systems and possibly the development of English talent.

    Maybe, I am just jealous that my team (United) isn’t backed by a wealthy billionaire…

    • Premierleaguered

      August 19, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Do you think Chel$ki have a proper youth system??? The last player their system produced is the heterosexual man named “TERRY” a decade ago.

      As a United fan ,you must be proud that you support a great club which respects youth system and develops youngsters and respect the club’s tradition ,ethics and value.You must trust in Sir Alex and we need no billonaire to back us. Be proud of your club.

  4. dlink09

    August 18, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    why would any one with right football mind move to city.. well its all about money..

    • Evan

      August 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      Isn’t that what all players want? If your career is playing football then why wouldn’t you choose the club that pays you the most? If you were offered a job would you rather be paid more or less? It’s simple really. Just because basically no other clubs can compete with city’s spending doesn’t make it bad for the players in any way.

      • Raatzie

        August 18, 2010 at 10:30 pm

        I don’t blame the players. I just don’t think they’ll gel. Which is why i have them finishing 7th and out of Europe.

      • Sir Guy

        August 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

        “If your career is playing football then why wouldn’t you choose the club that pays you the most?”

        Evan….not being argumentative, but that’s a pretty narrow view of why people work anywhere. Is money important? Absolutely. Is it the *most* important thing in job satisfaction and personal fulfillment? That very much depends on the individual, doesn’t it? I don’t think footballers are any different than the rest of us in that regard.

        It remains to be seen if this is a good move for Milner. As long as he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of Mancini trying to mix and match all his pieces, he’ll be fine. Personally, I wish him the best, but do you think Roque thought he was going to be getting splinters in his butt…..or did he not care and only want the big bucks?

        As I have said previously, I think City is one of the most interesting stories this year. I will be fascinated to see how Mancini handles all of his All Stars. “Money can’t buy me love”…..but…….

  5. Smokey Bacon

    August 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Stupid move. He’ll go from first name on the teamsheet to squad player. And when the new City manager arrives in December, then what? Mancini has not got a clue. How many midfielders does he need? This transfer was a vanity purchase by the City board just to show how much of a big club they are now. Their transfer policy is throwing darts at a wall. Mancini sacked by Christmas, and Milner sitting on the bench by then.

    • baron marius

      August 18, 2010 at 9:41 pm

      “And when the new City manager arrives in December”

      Likely not going to happen.

      “Mancini has not got a clue. How many midfielders does he need? This transfer was a vanity purchase by the City board just to show how much of a big club they are now.”

      In the 4-3-3, having Toure, De Jong, Milner, and Barry is not excessive especially with the Europa League games in their future. Milner was brought in for the creativity from this CDM position that many see as lacking in the squad, and this was clearly visible when they played Tottenham, not many chances created out of the midfield. It fills a need.

      As for vanity purchase? Really? You’re saying Tevez, Silva, and Balotelli, heck, even Robinho from two years ago weren’t enough for City to beat their chest? Haha what.

  6. Sir Guy

    August 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Regardless of how Milner fits in at City, I don’t see any downside in this for Villa. Ireland will be thrilled to get time on the pitch, which I think will reignite him. Meanwhile the club has to call Brink’s to haul the cash away.

    As for City, if Milner plays (which he must do, right?) then another one hits the bench (apologies to Queen…..and to you readers).

  7. CelticsBlues

    August 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    The comparison with Barry is unfounded. Barry was 28 when he moved – this is the peak and/or decline of a football player. Milner is 24 – he is entering his prime and will be surrounded by better talent than at Villa. I have a feeling that both Milner and O’Neil left Villa b/c they realized that Villa had reached its peak. They haven’t done any better in the last 3 years and will need to spend to make a true push.

    As a City fan I am very sad to see Stevie leave, but I understand the move from his and the club’s perspective. I remember watching him score in Sven’s only year in charge, and thinking we had something special. The reality is that Tevez took the only role that Stevie can excel in, and Tevez does it better. I think Stevie will do really well at Villa, just like his one great year at City when he had Robinho and SWP coming off the wings, he will have Young and Agbonlahor doing the same.

    After watching the Spurs game on Saturday, I am more convinced that we need someone like Milner. Excited to see how they both do.

  8. Chico

    August 18, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Football, like sex, is all in the mind. If Ireland was treated like a piece of sh!t no wonder the lad couldn’t play his best game. It was made very clear he had no future there. He needs a big boost of confidence, which the fans at Villa will give him. Great deal for villa and Ireland- watch him go.


    August 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Fantastic move for Milner. Every move so far in his career has been a move upwards and this is no exception. In 2-3 years time Man City will be the Premiership Champions and a power in the Champions League. Milner is just the right age to be a part of it adding that bit of winning mentality that unfortunately Ireland didn’t possess. The media would have you believe that City are just adhoc signing everyone and anyone. Nothing could be further from the truth. The wasters, hanger onners and bad apples are being slowly evicted from the club, to be replaced by steel in Ya Ya Toure, Boeteng and Kolarov. Guile in Silva. Enthusiam in Milner and a confident finisher who isn’t indimidated by anyone in Balotelli. And you know what? If my source is correct the biggest signing of the lot could be happening within the next 13 days.

    • Raatzie

      August 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm

      If Steven Ireland (and Bellamy and Shay Given, I’m guessing?) are your examples of “wasters, hanger onners [sic] and bad apples”, please do this Liverpool fan a favor and send the rest of those in the direction of Merseyside. Please.

      Actually, I’ll settle for Adebayor. He’s a third banana now, yes?

      Man City is going to prove that while banknotes facilitate championships, coaching and chemistry are necessary ingredients. The absence of those ingredients is what will distinguish them from a [gags in mouth a little] Chelsea.

      • Huh

        August 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm


        Steven Ireland has not made the grade under Hughes or Mancini it seems the biggest complaint about him is his mental strength, Trapatoni seems to be of the same mind, but if you insist you know better than these people then crack on.

        The Milner deal is reported as £16-18m cash and Ireland so that’s £24m- £26m that means we got £8m-£10m for a player who has failed to hold a place for more than a season I have watched Steve since he came through and he only looked like good for one season out of five. You are clearly taking your opinion from other people that watch some sort of crazy highlights as last year he was really, really bad.

        Shay Given’s a waster or not wanted what are you on about? The situation as I’m sure you are aware off is he has competition from one of the best young keepers in the world. Mancini wants him to STAY but if he is not up for the challenge he has said that he will not stand in his way if he wants to leave. Given has not once said he will leave only that long periods without playing at his age are not an option, what’s to say Hart doesn’t play like crap in his next few games and Given’s back in?

        Bellamy left on very good terms as he has been replaced in any position he plays by both Balotelli (as a forward) and Silva (as a left sided attacker) or are you going to tell me that he is better than these two or shows more promise? So with Craig not being the quietest player he was always going to be packing his bags or on the bench especially as he didn’t seem to click with the Manager at all, and NO he wasn’t the best player last year he did very well under Hughes but only ok under Mancini Tevez was player of the Year by a long way. You are simply trying to twist Windy’s words a bit like the daily City bashing that been going on for some time now, pretty sad really but never the less as time go’s by the funnier it becomes.

        As for Mr Flower a few weeks ago he was trying to convince us that Yaya Toure and David Silva were not big name signings and some other waffle similar to Paul ‘the footie genius’ Bestal’s hilarious rant about City‘s players being crap and Tevez wouldn‘t get into any top 4 team. Of course nether of these were at all biased against City, yeah right. The Gaffer told me that this was an opinion, my reasoning to this was that Adolf Hitler was really a nice guy, may not be true but it is an opinion doesn’t make it right though!!!

        • Raatzie

          August 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm

          Factually wrong, and a moron to boot. Learn to read before you open your mouth and try to use such big words.

          Trappatoni (two ps, moron) wants Ireland back. This is well-documented.

          Ireland made the grade just fine for Hughes two years ago. His reward for 13 goals and being the club’s POY as a 22 year old was relegation to the bench in favor of “bigger names” who certainly didn’t surpass his 08-09 performance (Tevez excepted, although I think that’s apples to oranges because I don’t recall Ireland ever playing up top. If he did, it was rare).

          The person I was REPLYING to called Given and Bellamy “wasters, hanger onners [sic] and bad apples.” Don’t ridicule me for the ridiculous opinion of one of your fellow supporters. The two of you give Man City supporters a bad name and make it that much easier to dislike the club (not that it’s been that hard since Mancini took over).

          Your Bellamy paragraph contradicts itself, so no need to explicate it. The rest is just whining.

          Villa bought Ireland for 8 mil. If they sell him in the next four years (i.e. by age 28), they’ll get double that. Book it. Done.

          Stop giving City supporters a bad name. Go away, and let someone who knows what the hell (s)he is talking about speak up for the club.

          • Huh

            August 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm

            Retard you even googled his name and still got it wrong you Fuxktard.

            ‘Trappatoni (two ps, moron)’ Hilarious, don’t you look like the prxck you so obviously are it’s spelt Trapattoni numpty. Pathetic look for some more little mistakes, joker.
            ‘Giovanni Trapattoni has told Stephen Ireland that he would not pick him for the World Cup finals if he didn’t get his mind right and play in the qualifying rounds’, now then smart arse what does that tell you about his mental state?

            ‘His reward for 13 goals and being the club’s POY as a 22 year old was relegation to the bench in favour of “bigger names”’
            Total tosh, I sat and watch him at Eastlands he started the season game after game and he was piss poor FACT. As supporters we were making excuses for his bad form at the time such as ‘he plays better with Robinho’ or ‘Hughes is playing him to deep’ but the fact was he just played badly end of. You didn’t watch any of these games otherwise you wouldn’t talk such crxp on a subject you clearly know next to nothing about, your information is all from the media and nothing you have seen yourself. Keep watching SKY (or more like it FOX sport) for your opinions.

            The person I was REPLYING to called Given and Bellamy “wasters, hanger onners [sic] and bad apples.” Don’t ridicule me for the ridiculous opinion of one of your fellow supporters.

            No Windy does not call Belamy or Given anything you Nxb. Does this ring a bell ‘(and Bellamy and Shay Given, I’m guessing?)’ , it should because it’s you are you a goldfish does your memory only last 5 seconds? did Windy type that for you? You really are a mental case aren’t you.

            ‘Your Bellamy paragraph contradicts itself, so no need to explicate it’

            How that smarty? He left on very good terms hence him thanking City for his time there . He was replaced by better players and he didn’t get on with Mancini. So where is this contradiction?

            ‘Villa bought Ireland for 8 mil. If they sell him in the next four years (i.e. by age 28), they’ll get double that. Book it. Done.’

            If he plays like he did with City they will get nothing but on the other hand if he is brilliant they will sell him anyway that is guaranteed and they will be back to square 1 yet again. By the way nobody actually knows the figures involve in either player it is all press speculation.

            ‘Go away, and let someone who knows what the hell (s)he is talking about speak up for the club.’

            You clearly know nothing what so ever about football (or more like it soccer) as you have just proved. Go and make so more anti City shite up like Balotelli’s on a Million a week and discuss with your fellow ignoramuses‘. Look forward to your reply. ‘Trappatoni (two ps, moron)’ Ha ha what a tard.

          • Raatzie

            August 18, 2010 at 10:28 pm

            So to review:

            Neither of us can spell.

            If we combine the reasoning of moron #1 and moron #2, the players S*itty is getting rid of are dead wood – with the exception of each and every single player they’re actually getting rid of.

            And Craig Bellamy – who didn’t speak to Mancini for six months and was banned from training – left on good terms.

            You are a taardvark.

            And if Pool can’t grab a top 4 spot this year, I hope any of the other legit contenders (Villa, Everton, Spurs) grab it over Manchester S*itty. Villa and Everton continue to do more with less; Spurs has more resources than those two but are using theirs much smarter than S*itty; and none of the three sets of fans are remotely as annoying as morons #1 and 2 (or annoying at all, for that matter).

          • you watch football 4 a couple of years now your brian clough lol

            August 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

            i was going to put u in your place raatzie but you just did that for me,plz comment a bit more so i dont have to waste my time making a monkey out of u …u do it much better

        • Thomas Flower

          August 19, 2010 at 5:58 am

          I am not anti City at all just don’t think Milner needed to move at this stage in his career. He was a key member of the Villa team, playing well and in the England side, the timing just seems wrong to me. Hope he does well though as rate him highly.

          • Huh

            August 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm

            My you just keep spewing dross don’t you.

            ‘If we combine the reasoning of moron #1 and moron #2, the players S*itty is getting rid of are dead wood’
            I think we know who the moron is! Windy actually writes ‘wasters, hanger onners and bad apples are being slowly evicted’ A bit strong for me as I would put it as players that do not fit or will not play such as Robinho, Jo, Garrido, Etuhu, Logan, Caicedo, Cruz and more. Of these a couple will go on loan (the young lads) and the others simply cos they don’t fit in Mancini’s plans and were not his signings.

            ‘And Craig Bellamy – who didn’t speak to Mancini for six months and was banned from training – left on good terms.’
            In this Interview Bellamy also go’s on to say that Mancini didn’t speak to many players as this was his style, he says Hughes was exactly the same! But the places that that you take you opinions from have failed to mention the full story making you look a fool (not that you don’t do a good job of this yourself) those who follow City mainly already know this. check the FULL interview on SKY sports video and not just the snippet the press used to get a story. Below are Bellamy’s words upon leaving City:
            “I had the greatest time at Man City,” Bellamy said. “I came there at a great period of the cub’s history. I was brought to bring that club on to the next level and I believe I played a big part in doing that. In the next couple of years I am sure they are going to get the Premier League title and I will be really happy if they do.”

            “Man City have been brilliant [to me],” the 31-year-old said. “Garry Cook and Khaldoon are two great men. They have been exceptional and made this possible. I will be in debt to them forever.” And what about his thoughts on Mancini? “I am fine with him. I hope he does really well. There is no ill-feeling. He is a top manager and he’ll do very well there”
            As I said very good terms, bit different for the bollocks you have read isn’t it, wingnut! Bellamy was not banned from MCFC training for one second or fined you dummy, stop reading this Sxxt and form your own opinion for a change you might like it once you tried it or simply do not tell fans of other clubs you know better than them cos you obviously don’t!!

            Now let’s be as childish as you if City finish in the top 4 and Livercrap don’t,(see what I did there, clever or what) I’ll be so…..
            I can’t be arse as it would make me look as big a clown as you. Everything you have wrote is crap, wrong and based on someone else’s thinking, how pathetic you are.

  10. Geoff

    August 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Stevie was our player of the season a couple of years ago. However, you obviously did’nt see him play last season !!

    • Sir Guy

      August 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      “Stevie was our player of the season a couple of years ago. However, you obviously didn’t see him play last season!!”

      Kind of hard when Mancini had him on the bench most of the time….for whatever reason.

      • Evan

        August 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm

        What are you talking about??? He started more than 20 games last season but lost his place after injury. Those city fans that did watch the games when he was fit could tell that he wasn’t up to standard and was very poor.

        • you watch football 4 a couple of years now your brian clough lol

          August 19, 2010 at 7:50 pm

          take it from a city fan who has watched ireland since he got in the first team HE IS NOT AS GOOD AS MILNER player of the year in a crap team is not the ballon d’or…im not saying hes useless but dont get carried away..better hope no one calls sensitive stevie names or gives him a dirty look or he’ll spiral into deep depression and self pitying ,his attitude is that of a loser when the going gets tough he just goes with the flow

  11. Dave C

    August 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Agreed with Raatzie – I think Villa have got a great deal here. Stevie Ireland is a very good player already (even a straight swap wouldn’t have been unreasonable), AND they get a boat-load of cash.

  12. aol

    August 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Negative move for Milner, IMO. He goes from being the leader of a team that has basically outperformed Manchester City for the past three seasons to becoming a cog in the wheel at Manchester City, a team that seemingly plans to buy 7-8 new players every season to replace the new ones they brought in the previous year (see: Shay Given, Craig Bellamy) and others that didn’t work right away were condemned to the bench week in and week out (see: Joleon Lescott).

    He may go from starting every game to seeing less playing time. He could regress similar to the way Gareth Barry has a year after leaving Villa himself. And if Man City can’t gel in the first two months, he could be playing under a new manager that doesn’t see him having the same impact that Mancini possibly does.

    Milner is a difference-maker for Villa. At ManCity…who knows. It doesn’t help that after bringing him in, Mancini’s comments were basically “Yeah, he’s a good player”. Doesn’t even sound that excited to have him, eh?

    • Thomas Flower

      August 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

      Agree that this is a negative move for him, think he should have stayed at Villa for at least one more year and then see how City progressed.

    • you watch football 4 a couple of years now your brian clough lol

      August 19, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      outperform? c’mon do your research firt=st stop wasting everyones time who finished higher last season? whos gonna finish higher this season,whos had the best head to head record for the last five years …not villa jog on u muppet

  13. Raatzie

    August 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Steal for Villa, on a smaller order of magnitude than Inter’s move for Eto’o last year. Ireland went right into my fantasy team last night. He’s going to light it up.

    • Simon Burke

      August 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      100% agree with this. Ireland if given games (and he surely will) will do very well for Villa so long as he has someone left to pass to..if Young goes too then Villa could really struggle.

      • Raatzie

        August 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm

        Agreed. I don’t think Young goes, but that is the caveat.

        • Huh

          August 24, 2010 at 6:10 am

          Early days but if I where you Raatzie I transfer Ireland (looks like someone turned that light out) fast and get Milner before his price go’s through the roof!!!!

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