Transfer news – Milner can go if the price is right, says O’Neill
Man City could offer Stephen Ireland as part of £25m deal for England midfielder
James Milner wants to leave Aston Villa, and his manager Martin O’Neill has vowed not to stand in the player’s way should the club receive the right offer.
Villa have already turned down a bid of £20m from Manchester City, and they are thought to be holding out for a fee in the region of £30m.
Since arriving at Villa Park from Newcastle in 2008 for £12m, Milner has broken into the England squad and has become an integral part of the Villa midfield.
Losing Milner would be a blow to Villa, who are 15/8 to finish in the top six this season.
The England midfielder’s departure would also represent the second defection from Villa Park to Eastlands in successive seasons, following Gareth Barry’s move to Manchester City last summer.
“I had a conversation with James before the World Cup and he intimated that he’d like to go,” said O’Neill. “I’d imagine things will be resolved in the foreseeable future.”
Manchester City, who are 4/7 to claim a top four spot, are reluctant to bid more than £25m for Milner, and they could offer their midfielder Stephen Ireland to Villa as a makeweight in the deal.
Ireland would be a useful replacement for Milner in the heart of Villa’s midfield, and O’Neill could use the remaining funds to bolster a squad which is priced at 9/1 to secure a surprise place in the top four.
Aston Villa lost the Carling Cup final to Manchester United last season. Can they go one better this time around? See the full Carling Cup market.