Milner may not be last to go
Lerner hints at scaling down of Villa's ambitions which could see Young follow his City-bound team-mate out of the club
Thursday 12 August 2010
James Milner is expected to complete his move to Manchester City today with Stephen Ireland joining Aston Villa in exchange. The £26m deal has long been touted but coming the day after Villa chairman Randy Lerner appeared to signal a scaling down of the club's ambitions it may prove a sign of things to come at Villa Park.
Ireland is set to undergo a medical today with Villa keen to press ahead with recruiting the Irish midfielder – and letting Milner move on – despite being without a manager following Martin O'Neill's shock departure on Monday.
Lerner released a statement yesterday on O'Neill's decision to walk away from the club five days before the start of the new campaign. Lerner's tone was different to the one he adopted in May when he said "the ambition and appetite to compete for the top four spot and qualify for the Champions League is as alive as it's ever been".
Though Lerner also stated yesterday that "there have been no changes in our approach to building the club," his comments did seem to be an acknowledgement that Villa's size will restrict their growth – an assertion which, even though the club recorded a £73.4m loss last season, Lerner refused to accept three months ago. As recently as the end of last season he said he was optimistic of Villa making a real challenge to break into the top four.
Lerner's fairly terse statement, allied to the departure of one of the Premier League's brightest managers, may not encourage Ashley Young to stake his hopes of reviving his England career on Villa, with Tottenham aiming to take him to White Hart Lane.
Lerner's statement read: "Having had some time to reflect on Martin leaving, I can say that our most immediate focus is supporting Kevin MacDonald [caretaker manager] and resolving the situation with Manchester City and James Milner. As for explaining why Martin left, I can say only that we no longer shared a common view as to how to move forward. To deal in greater detail would do little but cause additional distraction for the club as it faces imminent games and the clear priority of hiring a permanent manager."
Names in the frame for the managerial position include the US coach, Bob Bradley, and Gareth Southgate, although it remains unclear whether MacDonald will be given the chance to make the job his first.
Latest in Sport
Crystal Palace manager latest: Malky Mackay ruled out due to messy departure from previous club Cardiff
Sami Khedira to Arsenal: Midfield omitted from Real Madrid squad for Spanish Super Cup
David Gold furious after Carlton Cole parody account mocks up a picture of West Ham chairman as a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case
Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
Angel Di Maria latest: Manchester United target is Real Madrid's 'best player', says Diego Simeone
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 Kajieme Powell: Missouri police release video footage of second man killed by officers
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women