Finally some positive news for Liverpool fans, as the Reds have beaten Arsenal and Manchester City to the signature of England international James Milner, who was available on a free transfer after his contract at City ended.
It’s a big win for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool, who had trouble convincing big names like Alexis Sanchez to come to Anfield last summer. But they landed Milner despite City offering him more money and both themselves Arsenal offering the lure of champions league football.
But Liverpool could offer Milner the one thing he really wanted – a starting role in central midfield.
A Liverpool statement read:
‘The Reds have agreed personal terms with the England international, who will join the club on a free transfer on July 1 after his contract at the Etihad Stadium has expired.
‘The 29-year-old is also firmly established as a regular for England and has notched 53 caps to date.
‘Having also represented Leeds United, Newcastle United and Aston Villa, Milner has lined up against Liverpool 24 times in total during the course of his career.’
In a recent interview with Sid Lowe for the Guardian, City boss Manuel Pellegrini explained eloquently the benefits Milner brought to his squad.
“The club wants [James] Milner to continue and he wants to stay but maybe he wants more games,” he said.
“I understand. I’m Milner’s No1 fan. Find me a more complete English player. There are players who’re better technically, yes. Quicker players, yes. Players who head better, yes. But show me one who does all the things Milner does well. There isn’t one.”
He continued: “It’s hard to leave him out. Respect, commitment and performance level: 10/10, fantastic. He’s polyfunctional: full-back – the only position he doesn’t like – attacking midfield, wide. I played him as a forward and the team averaged three goals a game. He gives everything.
“You leave him on the bench and he’s absolutely furious but watch him during the game: encouraging, shouting, supporting. And in the next training session he kills himself.
“Milner’s a phenomenon, a guy with big balls and a heart this big. Intelligent, great mentality, one of those players that when you leave him out you’re left with this feeling of injustice; it hurts because he should always play but sometimes you need a technical player with other characteristics. I hope he stays. If he doesn’t it will be because there’s an important offer.”
It will be interesting to see how Rodgers plays Milner and Jordan Henderson together. Liverpool fas, what do you think of the signing of Milner. Are you happy with the deal?