James Milner joins Liverpool: Six reasons why Milner could be the signing of the summer

After running down his contract at Manchester City the England international has agreed a move to Anfield

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The Independent Football

There will be more glamorous names switching clubs this summer and there will be more exciting players to be unveiled.

But the signing James Milner, who today it was confirmed would be joining Liverpool, could just be the best deal of the current transfer window.

Here's why...

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Because Milner had run his contract down at Manchester City, he was available for absolutely nothing. Whilst Liverpool will have had to offer him competitive wages in order to beat off their rivals for his signature, there's no doubting Brendan Rodgers has got himself a bargain. When he joined Manchester City in 2010, he cost £26m.

EXPERIENCE

Liverpool are a club short on experience - only three players who are expected to be at the club next season (so excluding Glen Johnson) have won the Premier League title. They are Mario Balotelli (Manchester City 2012), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea 2010) and Kolo Toure (Arsenal 2004 and Manchester City 2012). Another player with the know-how of what it takes, Milner won two title with City, will be a welcome addition.

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Sturridge and Balotelli have won the title before

 

VERSATILITY

Milner made clear earlier this year that he sees his best position as a central attacking midfielder. That Liverpool won the race to sign him will have been influenced by guarantees that this is where he is likely to play. But should Rodgers need cover in other areas, Milner has proved across his career his ability to seamlessly do so, playing wide, in attack and at full-back at various times.

 

ABILITY

Milner is known for his high work rate, a commendable attribute but one that has regularly overshadowed his ability. This is a player that per-90-minutes last season created more chances than either Steven Gerrard or Jordan Henderson, made more key passes than either of Liverpool's most prominent central midfielders and made more tackles per game than the Reds' outgoing captain and his probable successor. See the stats below thanks to squawka.com.

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LEADERSHIP

With Steven Gerrard gone, Liverpool are in need of a new leader and Milner offers that attribute. This was a player that inspired Manchester City to one of their most famous ever wins - a 3-2 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2013. City were 2-0 down after just 12 minutes but Milner provided the pass for David Silva to pull one back, won the penalty that levelled the scores and then scored a brilliant winning goal. It was the kind of display more synonymous with a certain person heading to LA Galaxy.

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James Milner after that game with Bayern

 

UNCONTROVERSIAL

Liverpool have been engulfed with negative stories involving players leaving or wanting to leave the club. They lost their best player Luis Suarez to Barcelona a year after the Uruguayan kicked up a transfer storm. Gerrard persisted in dropping hints that Rodgers' lack of guarantees over first-team football were behind his decision to leave. Balotelli is a constant problem. Plus Raheem Sterling's future continues to overshadow everything else happening at the club. Milner in contrast is as straight as they come. Despite switching clubs numerous times, from Leeds to Newcastle to Aston Villa to Manchester City, it's always been completed without the player kicking up a fuss.  It's sometimes led to Milner being labelled boring (a Twitter account @BoringMilner has over 400,000 followers) but that's just what Liverpool need.

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