James Milner looks like he's coming to Liverpool, which is great news folks, but Manchester City don't want to give up on a player who wants to play for good money instead of being a trusted rotation option for better money. 2015 is the last year of Milner's twenties, and the former Leeds and Newcastle player is being sensible in moving for regular midfield minutes at a club that is still one of the Premier League's biggest attractions. News of a huge salary offer from the recently dethroned English Premier League champions arrived circa ten days ago, but the Liverpool Echo has released reports of Man City's desire to keep the play with news of an increased offer of £165,000 per week.
Is this the same offer that was reported not long ago or another offer without incentives in a last-ditch bid to keep a player who appears destined for the red half of Merseyside? Whether the latest offer is laden with incentives or not, it's a generous one. While Milner is a good player and one who merits respect, should he start regularly for Manchester City? Milner has been diligent, creative, reliable, and flexible during his five years in Manchester but has only broken the 2000 minute league minute barrier for the club once. By contrast, his potential future midfield partner Jordan Henderson has smashed through that barrier in three of his four seasons at Merseyside by over 1000 minutes twice and over 500 minutes once. This is probably the type of midfield minutes Milner's looking for, and even a couple of seasons akin to his first at Manchester where he made 23 starts and 9 substitute appearances would be superior to what he's experienced in recent years.
Forgetting the questionable moves for Christian Benteke and Danny Ings for a moment, Liverpool appear to be using favourable contract scenarios to pick up suitable and talented English players for good value. Milner's expiring contract obliterates the need for a fee, while Nathaniel Clyne only has a year left on his contract that reduces the "English premium" Liverpool would almost certainly offer if the player's contract ran to 2017 or beyond. It is unlikely that both players will remain at their current clubs in scenarios where player power is even more pronounced. Manuel Pellegrini has used Milner more towards the end of the season, and accepts that the player is in a powerful position.
"James is in charge to say when he will make his decision," said Pellegrini on the prospect of Milner leaving in the summer for a rival club. "That is when he finishes his contract with our club, which is the end of June."
There are some things money really cannot buy, and it seems Manchester City have made their grand gestures too late to keep Milner from joining Liverpool.