Tonight, a club in the north west of England tries to keep hold of an important player. Home grown, important for at least the immediate future, but having recently turned down a massive pay increase, this player doesn't need his club as much as they likely need him. This player is… James Milner?
In the wake of Raheem Sterling's most recent overshare about the state of his Liverpool FC career, it's easy to overlook that the rest of the transfer rumour mill continues to spin on other topics. With Milner linked last week to a Liverpool contract worth £100k/week, Manchester City have allegedly offered the midfielder an improved contract worth up to £160k/week, a mouth watering sum Milner has evidently turned down.
"I hope he stays. If he doesn’t it will be because there’s an important offer. I’m Milner’s No1 fan," Milner's manager Manuel Pellegrini said, confirming once and for all who holds that most precious of titles. "Find me a more complete English player. There are players who are better technically, yes. Quicker players, yes. Players who head better, yes. But show me one who does all the things Milner does well. There isn’t one."
It seems that playing time rather than money is the main sticking point with Milner, as he's willing to give up an increase on what he already makes to take a pay cut elsewhere in exchange for more minutes. Milner rejected a similar offer from City last summer, but evidently the increase in minutes he saw this season were not enough to convince him to keep pulling on that sky blue kit for another few seasons.
Whether or not he actually ends up getting the number of minutes he hopes for at Liverpool remains to be seen, and he'll obviously need to officially sign for the Reds first and foremost before he can earn even one minute for the club, but it's looking increasingly clear that the "important offer" Milner takes won't be at City.
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