Manchester City midfielder James Milner will sign for Liverpool on a free transfer after the end of his current deal this month, subject to a medical.
Milner, 29, had scored twice during a six game starting run at the end of last season but his desire for first team football in a central starting role has seen him turn down Arsenal to stay in the North West and join the Merseysiders who have lost the services of departing club captain Steven Gerrard who will join LA Galaxy in July.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 4, 2015
The versatile Yorkshireman had been played in all positions across midfield and even up front during his City career under managers Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini in which he made 201 appearances, and scored 18 goals after joining from Aston Villa in August 2010 and he went on to win two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup during his time at the club.
For all his versatility, however, Milner never really secured a permanent first team place and rarely played in his preferred central midfield role.
With a large hole to fill in midfield over at Liverpool after the exit of Gerrard, a side he would not have to uproot his family in the north west to join, Milner’s departure will leave City missing his energy and graft as well as a vital qualifying home grown player as they go into a new Champions League campaign next season.
City will have to move to replace Milner with home grown talent and the rumour mill has already been turning for several weeks with stories about Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, or Everton’s Ross Barkley coming to the Etihad to replenish the City midfield.
The latest stories circulate around Real Madrid midfielder Isco, a favourite of City manager Pellegrini at Malaga, who could be unsettled at the Bernabeu following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti this summer.
Isco got plenty of playing time last season but it’s yet to be seen if new manager Rafael Benitez might continue to favour Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez in midfield and if the Spanish playmaker will continue to to get games if all players are fit.
- City defender Dedryck Boyata, 24, has joined Celtic at the end of his City contract, he replaces fellow City youth product Jason Denayer, 19, who helped Celtic win the Scottish Premier League title last season. Denayer could start the next season as 4th choice central defender behind captain Vincent Kompany and fellow defenders Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala or he may be shipped out on loan.