Arsenal and Liverpool are set to be thwarted in their attempts to land James Milner and Joe Hart respectively, as Manchester City are desperately trying to convince them to stay to meet with more UEFA guidelines.
According to the Daily Express, the Etihad Stadium club are preparing new contract offers for the pair as losing them would risk breaking UEFA rules on the number of ‘home-grown’ players in each squad
Interest is there
Arsenal are credited with an interest in Milner and have been since the summer, which has been connected with the Gunners current issues in defensive midfield.
Liverpool were linked with a swoop for England number one Joe Hart this week after he denied reports the Citizens were set to hand him a new contract, which led some to believe this was a sign of disagreement.
However, the report says that Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City officials are confident they will be able to lure the English pair into agreeing extensions to stay at Eastlands.
Keeping the 'keeper?
Hart has only two years remaining on his current contract and Liverpool’s interest would not be a major surprise, as they have been linked with purchasing a senior ‘keeper for some time now.
Simon Mignolet has been first choice since arriving from Sunderland last summer, but has failed to really convince in his time at Anfield. Former Barcelona star Victor Valdes is a free agent and has been linked with a possible transfer this season.
Gunners need reinforcements
Meanwhile, Arsenal are facing a defensive injury crisis after losing two of their six senior defenders in the last week or so, but manager Arsene Wenger also has an issue in the defensive midfield area.
Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini have both looked suspect playing that role recently. Most notably against Borussia Dortmund, where the Gunners club captain was exposed for a severe lack of physicality and pace when the German side counter-attacked.
Milner can play in a variety of positions and has been used as something of a utility man for Manchester City, but he would likely be deployed as a midfielder screening the back four were he to join Arsenal.
City may be confident of getting him to pen a new deal before the January transfer window, but the former Leeds United and Aston Villa star has asked for assurances over playing time – he has never really been a regular starter under Pellegrini.
The Premier League champions need to make sure they keep as many top quality home-grown players as possible, as there is a shortage in their squad and they could risk breaching UEFA rules on the quota of native players in squads.
City have already been punished by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play guidelines and further transgressions are likely to be punished more severely.