Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign England midfielder James Milner from Manchester City on a free transfer.
Milner’s current contract at The Etihad is set to formally come to an end on July 1st. The former Leeds United, Newcastle United, and Aston Villa man’s future has been up in the air since January, when it looked like he could be on his way. Liverpool now look to be the fifth Premier League club of Milner’s career, who burst on the scene as a 16-year-old for Leeds United.
The 29 year-old has travelled to Anfield to discuss and accept personal terms. It’s thought that Milner had rejected a new contract at City with an improved salary said to be on the table. However, he has become frustrated with Manuel Pellegrini’s rotational policy ,where consistent minutes on the pitch have been difficult to find, especially in his favoured position of central midfield.
Although being used as mainly a squad player during Milner’s 5-year spell at The Etihad since signing from Aston Villa for a £26m fee in 2010, he has made 125 appearances in a City shirt, netting 18 times. In that time he has played a vital part in a number of positions on the pitch to help the side secure two Premier League titles, one FA Cup & a League Cup to his C.V in a successful spell in Manchester.
Fortunately, his hard work has not gone unnoticed by Roy Hodgson, who regularly includes Milner in the England squads, including last year’s disappointing World Cup campaign. Currently on 53 caps for England, Milner will surely add to his tally in a Liverpool team that will look to re-assess and build on their poor campaign this season.
Whether he is up to the standard of the out-going Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard may be a little too optimistic. However, what Liverpool fans will be acquiring is a box-to-box midfielder who will work incredibly hard as well as driving others on throughout the 90 minutes wherever he may be deployed on the pitch. The likes of Lucas Leiva may be looking over his shoulder slightly.
He’s certainly not a signing that will get Liverpool fans down to the Anfield gates, welcoming him to the club with open arms as he gingerly exits a stretch limo while hearing his name being sung by thousands. Neither is he a Philippe Coutinho or Raheem Sterling type of midfielder that will unlock an opposition’s defence without a key. But those talents won’t thrive without a hard, defensive combative core team behind them doing the underrated, dirty jobs that the Premier League produces, which in fact is probably the perfect position for a now experienced James Milner. So don’t be too disillusioned, Liverpool fans.