Liverpool

Why Liverpool Should Make James Milner a Priority Summer Transfer Target

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15:  James Milner of Manchester City in action during the Budweiser FA Cup Third Round Replay match between Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers at the Etihad Stadium on January 15, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Matt LadsonFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2014

It's over a week since the end of the Premier League season, and the transfer rumour mill is really getting into gear. Liverpool have been linked with a host of players over the weekend, from Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez to Bayer Leverkusen's Emre Can—reported by the Daily Star and Bild, respectively (h/t Liverpool Echo).

Monday sees a new name, a familiar one but one who hasn't previously been linked with Liverpool, enter the equation—James Milner.

The Manchester City and England midfielder is reported, by The Guardian's Daniel Taylor, to be seeking a move away from the Premier League champions this summer, and Liverpool are interested.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Milner, reportedly, wants to move to play more regularly, having spent recent seasons as a bit-part player at City. Taylor writes:

"The player informed them [City] last month of his decision and is strongly tempted by the interest from Arsenal and Liverpool. If City refuse to entertain the idea, his preference is currently to stay until he is eligible for a free transfer next summer rather than committing to a new deal."

After starting just 12 Premier League games in 2013/14, Milner clearly sees his future elsewhere.

 

Milner

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

The 28-year-old is a player who somewhat divides opinion. He is often maligned by England fans, but mostly due to the use of him by several England managers as a wide player, when he clearly isn't a traditional winger.

Milner's strengths are more suited to a central-midfield role, although he can also do a job out wide—as seen at Anfield when he replaced Jesus Navas in Liverpool's 3-2 victory over City in April. Milner was a key player in City coming back from two goals behind at Anfield.

Milner is an intelligent player, tactically aware and versatile—just the type of player Brendan Rodgers likes. He's the sort of player who would benefit from playing regular football, something Rodgers could perhaps offer him at Anfield.

 

I'd take James Milner all day. Very good player.

— Michael Sweeting (@M_Sweeting) May 18, 2014

 

The former Leeds United and Newcastle midfielder has just a year remaining on his contract at City, and Taylor says he would prefer to leave for free next summer if City don't allow him to leave this summer.

Arsenal, along with Tottenham and Everton, are also interested in Milner, and the midfielder's contract situation means he could be available for around £10 million, according to Taylor. A good price for a player of his calibre, mentality, experience and versatility.

 

Liverpool

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Oliver Kay, in The Times (subscription required), writes that Liverpool have an interest in Milner but are weighing up other midfield options before making their interest firm.

What Milner would potentially bring to Liverpool's squad is a wealth of experience; a player who has won two Premier League titles and this summer will feature in his second World Cup. He's also featured in the Champions League. Such experience would benefit Rodgers' squad this coming season.

 

Going to put this out there again. If James Milner is available on the market this summer, #LFC should take him in a flash. #MCFC

— Vince (@vincetalksfooty) May 18, 2014

 

Liverpool's squad has a plethora of young, talented players, especially in midfield areas. But a player with experience to help Steven Gerrard to mentor those youngsters would certainly benefit the squad.

Milner's versatility would mean he would get plenty of options, domestically and in Europe. Rodgers will need to rotate his squad next season, and having a player of Milner's ability and work rate in the squad would certainly improve his options.

Underrated by many, Milner's character and attitude would fit the Liverpool squad perfectly.

Should Rodgers seek to bring a player of Premier League experience into the squad this summer, he could certainly do much worse than Milner.

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