Manchester City Pursuit of Milner Highlights Their Lack of a Grand Plan

Ben Johnston@FiveCantonasCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2010

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 11: Gareth Barry and James Milner warm up during the England training session at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

James Milner is moving, with each passing day, closer to a big money move to Manchester City.

The latest figure is £24 million, with Milner expressing his desire to play for City to Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill.

Milner is one of the rising generation of England footballers, and comes off the back of a strong showing in last seasons Premier League.

He was also one of a handful of players to emerge with any credit after the Three Lions disastrous World Cup campaign.

But is he really a player to move Manchester City forward, or is his signing an impulsive splurge on a player that they don't really need?

Manchester City are blessed with talent from the midfield forward.

It is unlikely that Milner will displace David Silva or Adam Johnson from the first team reckoning given the money spent on them.

It is possible that his signing could mean the end of the road for Craig Bellamy or Shaun Wright-Phillips at Eastlands, but it was at center midfield that Milner was so impressive for Villa last year.

If Mancini envisages the same, then who from Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, De Jong and Barry will be the big loser? Does this mean that the brilliant Stephen Ireland will play even less football this season?

Perhaps the only logical place for Milner to slot in would be Manchester City's one remaining weak position—right back.

Given Manchester City's resources, one would have thought that there are countless better, more natural options available to them.

Micah Richards has been inconsistent and Pablo Zabaleta steady if unspectacular, and given Jerome Boatengs displays in South Africa, he could easily slot in.

So is there really a need for the Milner signing, other than to wave their chequebook around and remind everyone else where the money is at?