Milner request alerts Villa
Wednesday 27 August 2008
Aston Villa are expected to step up their bid to sign Newcastle's want-away winger James Milner, who has handed in a transfer request.
Villa are already believed to have had one offer, in the region of £9m, rejected for the England Under-21 player.
Now the midlands club look set to renew their attempts to sign a player who spent the 2005-2006 campaign on loan at Villa Park.
Villa manager Martin O'Neill thought he had landed Milner two years ago after agreeing a fee for the former Leeds star.
But Newcastle stopped the deal going through at the 11th hour and Milner returned to the North East, and last summer signed a new four-year deal.
Now the 22-year-old has made it clear he wants to leave the Magpies with his official request.
O'Neill is maintaining his policy of making no comment about potential signings until they are completed.
But he did admit: "I will tell you that we are very keen to try and strengthen our side between now and transfer deadline day.
"I am sure I could get one or two in anyway but it is just adding the sort of quality that I would want - and that is exactly what I will be trying to do.
"Am I a fan of Milner? He was nearly here two years ago. He nearly signed two years ago but it didn't materialise. But I never think anything is done and dusted until anything happens.
"So many things have happened to me as a player and as a manager that I would never take anything for granted. It was disappointing at the time but it was two years ago."
Milner's possible arrival would give Villa the balance on the right flank they have been lacking with central midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker filling the role against Stoke before Wayne Routledge came on as a substitute.
Meanwhile, O'Neill believes midfielder Gareth Barry has been in the right frame of mind mentally since returning to the Villa side after the apparent collapse of a move to Liverpool.
Barry's agent Alex Black insisted today the England player would not be moving during the current transfer window.
O'Neill said: "If Gareth stays with us for the foreseeable future, I will be really delighted.
"I would have said only a few weeks ago, I was resigned myself to the fact he would no longer be here - around about the time we played Reading in a friendly and when he didn't come with us to Malaga.
"If he does stay, I will be delighted. It will be a really big bonus for us.
"I think Gareth has played four games in quick succession - with the one for England. Four in 12 days after a stop-start pre-season, which hasn't helped him.
"He will have better days for us than on Saturday at Stoke with a bit of luck but Saturday might just have been a culmination of the four games in quick succession, the lack of any steady pre-season, and all of those things.
"I couldn't have faulted him in any of the matches he had played for us before that."
O'Neill is set to ring the changes for the second leg of the UEFA Cup clash with Hafnarfjordur tomorrow evening with Villa holding a 4-1 lead from the first leg.
The likes of Marlon Harewood, Craig Gardner, Zat Knight and Isaiah Osbourne are expected to be given an opportunity.
But left-back Nicky Shorey is ruled out with a slight medial ligament injury.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 final preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie gives his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’