Manuel Pellegrini has expressed fresh hope that James Milner will commit his future to Manchester City by signing a new deal at the Etihad Stadium.
The midfielder is out of contract in the summer with Arsenal and Liverpool believed to among those keen on the England man should be become a free agent at the end of the season.
However, Pellegrini has dealt both clubs a blow in their hopes to sign the versatile 29-year-old by telling the Manchester Evening News he thinks Milner will put pen to paper with City.
No deal yet
City spent much of last summer tying down a number of key stars to new long-term contracts, with Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart all agreeing extensions on their previous deals.
Milner has been in talks about an extension for a long time now, but has been seeking assurances over playing time before he makes a final decision.
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While speculation has been rife about when a final decision will be made, when asked if any progress had been made, Pellegrini admitted: "For the moment no.”
This season the former Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds man has seen plenty of first team action, although he's struggled to hold down one position.
"James is a very important player for our team also"
His flexibility has seen him feature all across the midfield as well as a stint as a makeshift centre forward.
Earlier in the campaign he even had brief cameos at right-back and left-back as Pellegrini shuffled his cards during the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in September.
Milner has become a key man
It's that versatility that has seen Milner make the step from bit-part player to a key member of the squad.
With 15 Premier League games remaining, Milner has already matched his number of league starts from last year's title winning campaign - 12.
And his contribution has not gone unnoticed by his manager, who expects a deal to be agreed soon.
"James is a very important player for our team also. I suppose he will have an arrangement soon," Pellegrini told reporters..
Milner's desire to prioritise playing time over earnings is typical of a man known to be a consummate professional, and Pellegrini was full of praise for the midfielders approach.
"Knowing the way he thinks we will see the same Milner with a contract, without a contract, he is a great professional," he said.
"I think he will he make the correct arrangement here."
Should the two parties fail to reach an agreement there will be no shortage of potential suitors for a man who has won two league titles as well as the FA Cup and League Cup during his five years in Manchester.