Paul Parker

Villa the winners in Milner deal

Paul Parker

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When you look at the number of players that
Manchester City already have in their squad, especially in midfield, it looks
as though James Milner will be just another to arrive on big money and not play
regular football.

At Aston Villa last season he was one of the
first names on the team sheet, but it's not going to be that way at Eastlands.

Milner is highly-praised for his
versatility, but I can't see him holding down a regular starting place either
on the wings or in the centre of midfield. Due to their recent signings, City have
well over a dozen other midfielders in their ranks already. One of those is now
a World Cup winner and another was a first-teamer at Barcelona for the past
three years.

In footballing terms, I think it is a bad
move for him. But if it is money that he is chasing then he's off to the right
club.

To leave Aston Villa to go to Manchester
City, it must be about money. City may be on a mission to spend their way to
the top, but in terms of comparing the two clubs, both historically and in
recent years, Villa have more about them. It's certainly not a step forward.

Roberto Mancini is loading himself up with
problems, whether he tries to ignores the major egos in the dressing room and
persist with a settled side, or whether he adopts a rotation policy to keep
everyone happy.

Even when Chelsea were at their most
spend-happy under Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese coach managed to keep a strong
core within the first team. Mancini is going to struggle to do that with the
number of playing staff already on his books as it is, without adding any more.

I personally don't think this will be a
good move for Milner. For Villa, however, I think it could be great. They are
in line to pocket a tremendous sum of money for a player who I don't think is
worth anywhere near that amount.

Once again, last season Villa suffered from
the lack of depth in their squad. They just weren't able to last the pace as
the race for fourth place neared its end. So a windfall of anything up to the
£30 million they are demanding can help Martin O'Neill make several significant
signings that will greatly aid them next season.

He was great at times last season, and has
improved year on year, but it remains to be seen if he can produce that form
consistently. He is also still not proven at international level. It seems to
me that City are once again paying well over the odds for a player.

Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger would
certainly never dream of paying that kind of fee for a player of Milner's
abilities. Not even Harry Redknapp, who is always keen to give English players
a chance, would see him as a decent buy at that price.  

I'm no fan of Premier League managers
shipping in foreign players when there are equally talented Englishmen not
being given the same opportunities, but when Milner is going for so much money
can you blame them?

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