Harry Redknapp is reported to be on the verge of completing his first major transfer of the summer.
It is thought that Redknapp has identified versatile 24-year-old England midfielder James Milner as his No. 1 transfer priority, after losing out to Liverpool in the race to sign Joe Cole.
In fact, Tottenham is confident that it will beat off competition from Manchester City for two reasons: Milner sees the London club as an ideal setting in which to continue his ascent to future club and international stardom; Villa manager Martin O'Neill is confident that he can persuade Tottenham to part with several quality players who could soften the blow for Villains' fans.
Milner, known in the game for his dedication and down-to-earth, mature attitude, will ignore the overtures from the wealthy sheikhs in favour of teaming up with a squad featuring several England full-team and youth teammates and one of the most respected English managers of all time.
So how would the transfer work?
Firstly, Redknapp would need to persuade shrewd Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that Milner is worth his £24 million valuation and wages which would dwarf those of the club's current top earners.
Secondly, Spurs and Villa would discuss which players might head in the other direction to Villa Park.
Villa has in the past been linked with all of the following Tottenham players: David Bentley, Alan Hutton, Jermaine Jenas, and Robbie Keane. However, with Spaniard Carlos Cuellar in fine form at right-back last season, O'Neill is thought to favour moves for the three offensive players, partly because he also fears losing speedy winger Ashley Young to a top-four team.
Although Tottenham's squad is undoubtedly deep, manager Redknapp would be unwilling to part with three first-team squad players, especially as he is keen to send promising youngsters Jonathan Obika, Danny Rose, and Adel Taraabt out on season-long loans.
Redknapp also believes that Irish talisman Robbie Keane's international experience and charisma could be beneficial for the club, but only if the forward can accept that he will not start every match for Spurs next season.
Therefore, the most likely players to swap clubs with Milner are Jermaine Jenas and David Bentley. Both are talented Premier League players in their twenties. Both are valued by Tottenham in the £8-10 million bracket. There would then be an additional fee for Spurs to pay the Midlands Club.
The deal would look like this: Aston Villa exchange Milner for Jenas, Bentley and £5-10 million.
This would leave Aston Villa with greater depth and more options in their squad, while Redknapp would pair Milner with Modric and Lennon in a formidable trio behind a lone striker in a fluid 4-2-3-1.
If the move is completed this week, Tottenham will turn its attention to recruiting a left-back, striker, and cover in goal and also in central defense, where there are concerns over the durability of injury-prone English duo Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate. Villa will use the additional money to move for a forward with pedigree and prowess.
Keep your ears and eyes open for this big deal. It could help shape next season for both clubs.
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