The summer transfer window may be just a distant memory, but with the season well underway managers have already started their preparations for January..
Arsenal may miss out on signing a really handy versatile midfielder if the reports according to Express of Liverpool’s bid to sign James Milner are true.
The 28-year old has not yet concluded negotiations with City for a new contract as he keeps his options open to know his exact fate in the team. Pellegrini is keen on keeping him at the Etihad due to his versatility and the work he brings to the team, but Milner could be thinking he is not being used to his best potential. Nominally a central midfielder, the former Leeds and Newcastle man has had to make sacrifices for City, playing all sorts of positions, even as a false nine.
Injuries to Aguero and Dzeko have given him an extended run in such roles but with both set to return in January, the doors remain open for Milner to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any club he feels can offer him more regular football and, at the moment, Liverpool seem to be moving quicker than us. His current deal runs out at the end of this season, meaning he could be signed for free if such an agreement can be reached by January.
Brendan Rodgers has yet to find the right balance for his team this season and faces daily questions about the future of Captain Steven Gerrard and the true role of the captain-in-waiting, Jordan Henderson. With Emre Can not really trusted to be ruling the midfield as yet, perhaps he is looking at Milner as an experienced head to help him sort out the conundrum in January.
But Wenger is also as much in need of midfielders at the moment, though the necessity is more due to injuries than about queries of quality. Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Arteta and Diaby are all very technically gifted players but their fluency has been curtailed by injuries, leaving us in need of a trusted machine who could go two, three seasons on the trot.
A defensive midfielder remains the core need of the club and Milner is not exactly that. However, his versatility has seen him even used at right back by England manager, Roy Hodgson, and with the right system, he may not have to always seat as deeply as we suppose a defensive midfield player should. He has been very vital for City this season, providing a tough look to a side that gains more praise for the technical aspects of the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva.
I think we should be looking at Milner as one of our options, though the price would have to be right.
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