Manchester City transfer news: Wembley despair left James Milner looking for future away from Manchester City

Premier League rivals Arsenal and Liverpool are among the midfielder's possible suitors

football correspondent

Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to give James Milner no game time in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley has contributed substantially to the player concluding that his future lies away from Manchester City.

City, who are struggling to hold together the squad which won the Premier League title 11 days ago, face a losing battle in altering Milner’s view that they are only interested in Spanish players. The 28-year-old was particularly was despondent having not emerged from the Wembley bench against Sunderland in March.

Milner’s frustration with life at the Etihad is also understood to stem from the fact that even his huge contribution as a 50 minute substitute in City’s vital game at Anfield last month has not altered his second tier status in manager Manuel Pellegrini’s eyes. Milner justifiably felt that he made City look like a different team in his wide role at Anfield on April 13.

The Englishman, signed from Aston Villa four years ago, has made only 71 Premier League for City in that time. He knows that few clubs will be able to match his City salary but that may still not deter him from leaving, with Arsenal and Liverpool among possible suitors. Though Milner craves a central role, City are understood to be ready to retain Javi Garcia, as well as buy Porto’s Fernando, leaving scant prospect of a place in the middle for the England international – despite his excellent contributions last season.

Yaya Touré's bizarre veiled threat to leave for Barcelona – made through his agent Dimitri Seluk, who said City had failed to mark his birthday – will be more difficult to put into effect than the Ivorian might hope. Barça would relish regaining the player they sold four years ago but they simply could not afford the 31-year-old. This summer the club is committed to bringing the wage bill down after laying out £57m on Neymar last year and sealing a new contract with Lionel Messi this week which is worth around £16.3m a year. Players are more likely to be moved out of the Nou Camp than brought in – while Touré commands a weekly salary of £220,000.

The midfielder could find a home at Paris Saint-Germain or Monaco, but City are relaxed about the situation and ready to let the storm about his birthday pass. However, Touré's criticism is likely to lead the director of football, Txiki Begiristain, to seek a meeting with him next month in Brazil, where the Spaniard will be located during the World Cup.

Retaining Milner will be more difficult. The Englishman has rejected a four-year deal after starting only 21 games in all competitions last season.

Milner also justifiably felt that he made City look a different team after arriving from the bench in a wide role at Anfield on 13 April. However, that does not appear to have changed his place in the pecking order.

His scepticism about a future at the Etihad will only be compounded by the fact that City believe they will be allowed to reduce the number of home-grown players they field in next season's Champions League from the statutory eight to a mere five. Uefa's imposition on City of a reduced 21-man squad – as punishment for failing the Financial Fair Play tests– was thought to have created a greater need for Englishmen, with eight home-grown players and 13 foreigners seemingly required to make up the squad. Yet The Independent understands City believe they can cut a deal with Uefa to reduce their home-grown component, pro rata.

In what would be a hugely controversial twist to the FFP saga, City are convinced they will be allowed a 16-5 split, though it is unclear whether they have yet attempted to agree that with Uefa. The European governing body said it was "not in a position to make any further comment" on the issue.

City accept that Jack Rodwell has not played enough first-team football since his £12m move from Everton two years ago and that a loan deal for him is now needed. Rodwell does not expect Everton to be willing to buy him back. But a loan is possible, with the Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, ready to develop a specific midfield role for the 23-year-old and kick-start his development.

Though City are also preparing to let other English players like Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Scott Sinclair and Gareth Barry leave this summer, it is possible that the Spanish defensive midfielder Javi Garcia will stay. Garcia may stay because the club like the versatility which allows them to deploy him in central defence.

A £10m offer for Milner from Arsenal may come this week, though City's shortage of Englishmen may mean Milner having to run down his contract and leave on a free transfer next summer.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee