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.
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pictured in Rome as club close in on Manchester United striker for £17m
Radamel Falcao analysis: Manchester United have signed a top talent yet to hit his stride
Danny Welbeck signs for Arsenal: Gunners confirm signing of striker from Manchester United
Radamel Falcao to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal takes transfer spend beyond £140m - SIXTH most of any Premier league manager
- 1 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain