Football

O'Neill figting losing battle

Milner wants to follow in Gareth Barry's footsteps. (©PAphotos)
Milner wants to follow in Gareth Barry's footsteps. (©PAphotos).

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has admitted James Milner wants to leave the club this summer.

The midfielder has already been the subject of a rejected bid from Manchester City following a brilliant season last term, which earned him three starting appearances in England's World Cup campaign.

O'Neill told a press conference ahead of Villa's friendly with Bohemians in Dublin on Saturday: "I had a conversation with James before the World Cup and he intimated that he'd like to go."

City had an offer believed to be around £20million turned down by Villa in May, with the midlands club thought to be seeking in the region of £30million for the 24-year-old.

O'Neill added: "City made an offer but it did not meet our valuation. I'm sure matters will be resolved soon. James is back next week having had an extended holiday."

Milner excelled after moving from the right into the centre of midfield last season and was the key player in Villa's Champions League challenge, although they eventually lost out to Tottenham for fourth spot.

City have already signed midfielders Yaya Toure and David Silva this summer and manager Roberto Mancini said this week they would not be rushed in their pursuit of Milner.

Losing a star man to big-spending City would not be a new experience for O'Neill, who last summer saw captain Gareth Barry make the move to Eastlands.

The Villa boss, meanwhile, has been linked with West Ham midfielder Scott Parker should Milner leave but co-owner David Sullivan said their rivals would "not have enough money" to tempt them to sell the 29-year-old.

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Topics:
Football
Manchester City
James Milner
Premier League
Aston Villa

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