James Milner: Will City Stick Or Twist?
Aston Villa's Milner is a fine footballer, there's no doubt. With a £20 million bid for his services rejected, City's hierarchy are considering their options. Player plus cash...?
There's a theory knocking around SportCity that although The Blues can guarantee what has become by now a widely accepted one up front payment for any player on the planet, the board might be prepared to offload a player or two into the bargain where Milner is concerned.
In the meantime, The Villa are determined to keep their man and have already lined up talks with the England international and his representatives before this summer's World Cup begins.
The Grauniad revealed this week that City's 'Football Administrator' Brian Marwood is heavily involved in negotiations. Talk of footballing directors and administrator's handling deals very often leads to unease amongst long serving traditionalists within the game, but it's become increasingly clear from day one that Marwood has a big role to play at City. Mark Hughes would probably concur that, but that's another story. This correspondent certainly hopes that City gaffer Roberto Mancini is fully involved in all player related developments.
As an integral part of upcoming signings, rather than simply up the bid as we saw in the lengthy pursuits of Craig Bellamy and Roque Santa Cruz, City might well take the opportunity this summer to offload a raft of senior players on big salaries who were loaned out left, right and centre throughout last season. The likes of the hapless Jo and Benjani spring to mind, yet there are also reports out there that City might yet consider trading in certain MCFC Academy graduates whose salaries don't quite meet the stellar levels of Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor.
In moves that would be sure to test the resolve of the vast majority of die hard Blues, players such as Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland, Nedum Onuoha, Kelvin Etuhu, Vladimir Weiss, Shaleum Logan and Micah Richards could end up figuring in a Milner transfer to Eastlands.
Above all else, the days are long gone whereby City fans dreaded each transfer window in the fear that our homegrown players would be sold. City no longer need to sell players, but at the same time, the Blues hierarchy may well decide that some book balancing is in order.
City set out to do their business early last summer as the stealth bomber signing of Gareth Barry showed. Germany international Jerome Boateng is alledgedly already in the bag and it's looking likely that City want Milner signed up before the World Cup.
We can expect Milner's situation to become clearer, maybe even resolved inside the next week. If so, will The Blues make Villa a financial offer they can't refuse or attempt to swing the midfielder's signature with the offer of a player plus cash deal?
Furthermore, will the player himself decide to stay at Villa Park?
Give us a shout both here and in the VMC Forums with how you see this situation developing...