Liverpool look set to win the battle for England midfielder James Milner this summer, as the Manchester City midfielder looks set to sign as a free agent for the Reds, subject to passing a medical.
The 29-year-old has reportedly turned down a new contract at the Citizens and is on the move.
Milner was a man in-demand this summer, with Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Arsenal believed to have been interested in signing the former-Leeds midfielder.
However, he was unlikely to be able to secure regular first team football in north London, which has been cited as one the main reasons for leaving City.
Liverpool have been mentioned as a potential destination for a long time and it now looks like the midfielder will now be plying his trade on Merseyside next season.
For me James Milner is highly-underrated. He was not always a regular for City, as he made 32 Premier League appearances for City last season, but only 18 of those where starts. Despite the relative lack of action Milner still scored five goals and collected seven assists in the top-flight.
Milner is regarded as boring and just a reliable player, but his quality is there for all to see. He has a wealth of experience both domestically and internationally. The 29-year-old is also the ultimate professional, just getting on with his job and never causing any difficulty for anybody.
There are very few players with the same grit and determination in their locker left in the English game. Milner couples football intelligent with sheer work rate. He may not get the glory, but he is a very good player indeed.
The midfielder is a manager’s dream and that is why Citizens boss Manuel Pellegrini did not want to lose the England international this summer. However, he was fighting a losing battle because the former-Newcastle was not given regular enough game time at City.
In many ways James Milner has suffered throughout his career because of his versatility. The fact that he played in seven different positions for City last season illustrates that point perfectly.
Milner has earned himself a reputation as a ‘James of all trades and a master of none’. That means he has never quite nailed down a starting position in many of the teams he has played for.
When he first broke onto the scene as a teenager he looked like he was going to be a winger, but has played every position on the pitch since then, even playing as a striker earlier this season for City.
However, apparently he considers central midfield as his favoured position. That will most likely be where he features for the Reds in the new season. Brendan Rodgers team have lost captain and legend Steven Gerrard, who is set to join MLS outfit LA Galaxy this summer, when his Liverpool contract expires.
Gerrard will be difficult to replace and Milner is unlikely to have the same influence as the former-England captain, but he will not be a terrible replacement for Gerrard.
Rodgers signings last season were mostly youngsters, as he tried to stick to the clubs Moneyball policy. This summer though the Northern Irishman needs to add some players with Premier League experience to his squad.
Milner will be the sort of player who will need very little time to settle at Anfield and I am sure he will thrive playing regularly in the centre of the Liverpool midfield next season.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers’ record in the transfer market since his arrival has been poor to say the least. Very few of Rodgers signings have been successful. This summer the former-Swansea boss had to improve that record or face the consequences in the new season.
This signing has to be seen as a shrewd one from the Reds boss. Milner may be on big wages, but he is exactly the sort of player that the Reds are in need of next season. The midfielder is a leader, who will run all day for his team, a player that the youngsters can look up to and emulate.
Signing James Milner on a free transfer is a no-brainer and he could just turn out to be the bargain of the summer.
Will James Milner be a good signing for Liverpool?