5 Mar 2015

£120k-a-week? Liverpool in advanced talks to sign 'outstanding' £15m attacker, but demand that he lower wage expectations

Every day, I awake with the fervent hope that Liverpool's interest in James Milner is just a horrible recurring nightmare, but unfortunately, it seems to be the reality, and the Reds are still reportedly keen on signing the midfielder this summer.

In February, an alleged exclusive from the Daily Express claimed that Milner was considering an official offer from Liverpool, and according to the latest report on the issue:

* Talks with £15m-rated* Milner are at an 'advanced stage', but Liverpool have 'told' the 29-year old to lower his wage demands if he wants a move to Anfield this summer.

* Milner is holding out for £120k-a-week, which is what he's currently being paid by City.

I simply cannot conceive of a world where Liverpool pay James Milner £100K+ per-week. The idea is nauseating, and it's anyone's guess why an average British footballer nearing the end of his career is worth that much. Consider Milner's creative stats over the last 4 years:

* 2014-15: 6 goals/8 assists in 36 apps (so far)
* 2013-14: 2 goals/15 assists in 44 apps.
* 2012-13: 4 goals/7 assists in 35 apps.
* 2011-12: 3 goals/5 assists in 37 apps.
* 2010-11: 3 goals/8 assists in 42 apps
* TOTALS: 18 goals/44 assists in 194 apps
* Goal every 11.9 apps | Assist every 4.3 apps.

Milner - recently hailed by Brendan Rodgers as 'outstanding' - averages 3-4 goals a season over the last 5 years, and I can't see that changing at Liverpool. He'll just be another industrious midfielder who'll fail to score goals when it really matters.

Forget hard work, pressing etc - Liverpool have enough workers, but where has that got the team over the last 5 years? The Reds need midfielders who will consistently contribute 10-12 goals a season, and Milner 'aint it. Thankfully, Manuel Pellegrini wants him to stay, and he reiterated that in an interview this week:

"In our club, all the people who decide if Milner stays or goes want him to stay. He must decide what he wants in his future"

I also can't shift the feeling that Milner is using Liverpool's interest to get the contract he wants at City. I doubt he has any affinity for the Reds, and if he signs, he'll just be another Anfield tourist, like Joe Cole: happy to collect his massive paycheck, but with very little real feeling for the club.

Seriously, have standards and expectations fallen so low that fans really believe that James Milner is the type of player who can push Liverpool to the next level?!

Urgh. If James freakin' Milner is the answer, then someone is clearly asking the wrong question.

* Valuation appeared in Sky Sports' transfer-centre.

Author:



52 comments:

  1. I think its a no-brainer.
    Experienced, prem proven, a winner, hard working - fits BRs style, cheap - to acquire at least, can play many positions, good delivery... Right wing back mebbe?

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  2. according to those statistics isnt Milner more potent than Coutinho? i think milner would be a good signing and from reports ive seen he was willing to drop his wage demands.
    Experienced winner, hard worker and he can slot in numerous positions.

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  3. YouDontKnowNaffin9:05 pm, March 05, 2015

    This is laughable. Since when does a modern footballer need "affinity" for a club to perform well for them? I hear Yaya Toure's affinity for Man City is why he is so fundamental to them.


    Also, let's have a bit of perspective here. You claim he wouldn't consistently contribute creatively, but from his record this season he would be our joint second top goalscorer, and our joint top assist maker. And just to preempt what I guess will be a comment about our poor start to the season, his 15 assists last season would have made him our TOP assist maker!


    What was your point again about him only being "industrious"?

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  4. if he comes on a free transfer is his wage really outrageous? how much does it cost to sign players on, pay agents, add bonuses en then their wages, plus im sure we cn offer him a base salary thats high and than add bonuses to compensate da rest, or m i viewing this to simplistically?

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  5. en those stats r even better wen u consider most of the games he comes on as a sub

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  6. Just as a side note, I would really appreciate it if you didn't include a monthly subscribing fee as this is one of my favourite sites for everything LFC and allows a, somewhat, unbiased fanbase. And I would unfortunately not be able to pay a fee.

    I know from reading your articles that you arent a money-crazed lunatic(!) but I'm glad that you take the fanbase's opinion into account when making such a decision.

    Cheers Jaimie

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  7. For someone who is struggling to hold down a spot, 34 games a season is pretty good!

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  8. I knew it. Only English players 'll charge this sort of outrageous wage & English clubs 'll pay that. This is a major reason why English players hardly get calls from outside UK.


    Is he worth - absolutely no way; to me not more than 75K. Is this a good deal - don't know, provided that he is available for free. At 29, he can give 4 good years at best - that's over 25mn + bonuses. However, for value for money, it's better than a 15mn fee & 75K player, though the resale value for Milner 'll be almost negligible after 4 years.


    Should we get him - my hunch is yes, but at a lower (<100K) wage on 2 grounds - he is experienced & versatile due to playing big clubs & different positions and he is home grown. After SG leaves, if Lambert, Jones (GK) & Johnson is sold, we 'll have only 7 or 8 home grown players left.


    This is another area I am not happy with LFC - we have an expensive academy, but still we are buying 7-10mn average "foreigners" as bench players; whereas Sir Alex or Wenger used to have a good home grown bench & a group of top quality imports.

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  9. JK said he *does* rate him

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  10. Would he help us make the step to another level and challenge with the big boys ?
    Right now that's the only type of player we should go after.

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  11. He's a great player and I would get him as fast as possible if the price is right. We have four great midfield players but a fifth good one would be a very nice to have.

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  12. Have you ever even watched Milner play?

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  13. Lallana and Lovren also fall into that category. As did Cissokho at the time. Of all the players "desperate to play for Liverpool," the only one I'd take that aren't at the club right now (aka Gerrard and youth) is Arda Turan.

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  14. I would say you're missing the point a bit.


    From a financial standpoint, his wages are more than doable.


    But simply put, he's not worth that wage. He'd be sitting the bench and collecting a salary that's double some of our starters. Unless his production increases, we'd be paying him twice as much as say Can to do the same work and take time away from him.

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  15. Murale Balakrishan11:27 pm, March 05, 2015

    He won't be a first 11 for sure, but will be more of a squad player. With reduced wage, I will sign him with closed eyes. Do you remember how he played for Aston Villa, in the middle of the midfield before joining Man City? He was so good, people started comparing him to Lampard and Gerard. Of course, with age on the wrong side, he won't be near their level now, but he will be a good addition. I say we go for him.

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  16. YouDontKnowNaffin why do you think what Milner produces for Man City will automatically translate in Liverpool shirt? Moving to a new club, playing with different players and having to adapt to a new system makes what you do for one club, different from what you're able to do for another.
    Adam Lallana is the perfect example of that.A player with PL experience.His goals and assists were very good for Southampton last season.He's still a classy technically gifted player for Liverpool, but hasn't so far been able to replicate the same productive form.

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  17. Jaimie, I have to agree with you on this one, forget Milner. I would rather they push for Carvalho to help sure up the center of the park. We have enough runners ready. We need some steel now.

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  18. I'm squirming with discomfort; not just at the fact Milner is a 'slow-shit-down type of plodding player, but also because I agree with Jaimie about the 'urgh'!


    I'm squirming also because a lot of posters also have a point - that he is such a no nonsense solid dependable player (I've just sighed in defeat).


    Fine, yes, okay, he'd be a kind of valuable player to have;to bring on to sew up a champions league game we're winning next year, or as a calm head during an onslaught in a key game......


    But surely he's not the future, or the 'answer' to the next level......if that level is consistency without the fans hearts giving in three times per game.......or is he.....?

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  19. Milner is a very good player and would be a valuable addition to our squad.
    If you choose to view football in a completely robotic way, using terms such as "specific measurable input (SMI)" and having specific boundaries with which a player must adhere to before he can be considered a success, then Milner probably isn't your guy.
    Personally I like to watch matches and decide for myself what kind of impact a player has had and I've never watched James Milner and thought he wasn't doing the job asked of him and considering how many of his appearances are from the bench, his stats are verging on admirable. He also has a knack for scoring important goals.
    With Gerrard leaving in the summer, I think a player of Milner's style and experience is exactly what we need and I think on a free he's a no brainer. 120k is maybe a bit steep but if he'll go for 100k a week then I say sign him up.

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  20. "Have standards and expectations fallen so low that fans really believe that James Milner is the type of player who can push Liverpool to the next level?!" My thoughts exactly.We can do better!

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  21. So you think Milner could get a call up to the Brazil squad. I don't think so. Plus if we had a front line like City's, I believe Coutinho would have a lot more assists this year.

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  22. Hmmm yea I must have misread that. Apologies

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  23. I never said anything like that.

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  24. We have tons of really exciting talent currently coming out of the academy. We've gone quite a long time since we've brought in a legit HG player, but you have to remember that the results of the academy is a reflection for the management 5 or so years ago. The players that were brought in at the end of Rafa's reign, Kenny's stint, and BR's brief time are just coming good now. Ibe, Wisdom, Kelly (who is still a PL player despite being sold), Suso (same idea), Spearing (who is captain of Bolton), and Sterling are all recent academy products. Others close are Williams, Texeria, Ojo (looks to be the "next" Sterling and Ibe), Sinclair, Rossiter (keep an eye on him...), Brannagan, Sergi Canos, Harry Wilson, Chirivella (also bright), Lloyd Jones, and Brad Smith. Every single one is making waves, some quite big ones. We even have a u16 Yan Dhanda who seems incredibly promising. But again, we won't see the likes of Dhanda for at least 4-5 years in the first team.


    To say we need to improve our Academy based on current standards is basically trying to change the past. Anything we do now will only be seen after 3-5 years.


    All that said, I agree with everything you said about Milner.

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  25. If you're gonna twist his words around, at least make some sense at it.

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  26. I think if the game against City showed us anything it's that those industrious players are an essential part of the team. What specific measurable input did Allen or Lallana have except making tackles, keeping possession and generally just running their arses off? A big part of what was wrong at the start of season was the lack of organised pressing and hard work. So no, Milner isn't going to take the team to a new level, but on the other hand he's an ideal addition to the squad and can fill roles right across the midfield and even in attack. That's valuable in itself, and the fact that he'd come on a free transfer makes it dead simple. Plus if he comes to Liverpool he'll fit in the wage structure just like everyone else. He'll get paid what he's worth to the club and although you are free to disagree with that it will always be the club that decides these things, not fans.


    Liverpool are losing a big chunk of experience in Stevie G. Lucas is also a candidate for sale. Those two players have a ton of years behind them playing in this league and that kind of experience needs to be re-built or replaced. I agree, Milner's motivation needs to be questioned so if we have to lure him with a sparkly big contract then no, forget about it. But if he IS willing to take a pay cut to come here then it's a clear sign that he wants to play for Liverpool and it's not just about the money. In a way that's why Liverpool's tendency to not offer over-the-top contracts is a good thing. Our players are well played but if they want to earn stupid money then they are welcome to leave and try their luck somewhere else.

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  27. I said that because of your reference that Milner is more potent than Coutinho, who was just recalled to the Brazil squad.

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  28. Does he have the work ethic required to play for Liverpool in the PL? Not that football in Spain is lacking in quality but many players inbound to England have noted a shift in how much running they have to do compared to what they are used to. His technical quality is obvious enough but Liverpool will still need him to have a level of intensity that he might not be used to. I guess since he's a known target they have already taken that into consideration but I do wonder how it's possible to gauge that kind of thing if it's not currently a part of the game he plays for Madrid.

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  29. Im a huge James Milner fan and for a free transfer with all that experence is a no brainer to me , but Imust say the idea of Carvalho does look exciting but will cost 20m .

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  30. I agree we don't need him. Milner is not a Liverpool type player.

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  31. I have to take issue with the seemingly rhetorical "where has [hard work and pressing] got the team over the last 5 years?" question. It got us to second place in the league, one result away from winning the title. Without that aspect of our game Liverpool simply wouldn't have been as effective last year. Seems like it's easy to ignore that while SAS were banging in the goals but I don't see how it's justified. Rodgers consistently bangs on about how the team needs a certain level of intensity, that players need to work hard, that we need to press from the front. He doesn't just talk the talk, he backs it up in terms of the players he signs and the team selections he makes. Quite obviously it's a massive part of the team ethos and also the tactics and that's on display this season. The lack of energetic hard work at the start of the season rendered the team unrecognisable. Now that it's back Liverpool are a force again.

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  32. Why does last season take precedence over the previous 4 years, when Liverpool finished outside the top four? Clearly, finishing in the top 3 is the exception, not the rule, and until Rodgers can get Liverpool consistently finishing in the top four, last year is a one-off.

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  33. Hell...I wouldn't even feel paying more than 100k a week for average players.

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  34. I don't see the relevance of what happened under previous managers, that has no bearing on what might or might not work for Rodgers. Rodgers himself has been at the club for nearly 3 years now. You can go beyond just last season too and consider what's happening now, Liverpool are the form team in the league. What has been the most successful tactic for them during these times? What has been lacking when the team is losing? Certainly, we've got the rest of this season to get through and maybe it won't last. If Liverpool continue to "work hard" for this year and it doesn't get them into 4th place then there will be a better argument to be made against it. But if this form continues and Liverpool achieve a very creditable 3/4 finish without significant influence from SAS then what else would we attribute that success to?

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  35. Milner is good player but i don't see him being more than a squad player at Liverpool and we have already have enough of those. What Liverpool really need now is star quality not squad quality which Milner doesn't possess at all.

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  36. Thanks, appreciated.


    May be in next 2 windows, we 'll get 3/4 starters & those youngsters start to make impact. Unless a club has mafia or oil money, academy is the only way to build a great team. We can afford 1/2 50mn players, and 4/5 150K/week+ players; but lots of players must have to come from junior levels.

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  37. I would like Milner but as a squad player, as a squad player anything more than 75k a week would be madness.

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  38. I believe the point he is making is that if you just go by those stats and that stats do not show the whole picture as they can be cherry picked to back up an argument.

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  39. And people are calling Sterling greedy. At least he has a sell on value and cost very little

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  40. I think to describe Milner as average is inaccurate...he has been consistently good for Man City and offers great versatility. I certainly think he would be ideal as a wing back / midfield in the 3-4-3 system Liverpool are now adopting given his ability to do a good job both defencively and in attack, get tirelessly up and down the pitch and importantly offer consistently good delivery ....something that all too often isn't the case from the likes of Markovic who in my mind is often a liability defencively and flatters to deceive going forward. Additionally he offers an ability to play any position in midfiekd well. I think he'd be a very good acquisition.

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  41. You clearly have a problem with milner .....sorry but see the comparison of this season of milner, sterling, coutinho, Henderson...

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  42. Shock horror, 29 year old is more consistent than 20 yr old in a new country/league.
    Markovic will improve, and will have a sell on value. Milner won't, he's a good, solid , dependable player with occasional excellent moments. What we need is a missing link player. One who will elvate the team, not incrementally improve it.
    Look at the European experience we're losing next season. We need a proven top quality player with experience/ability on that stage, to lead our inexperienced young team and bridge the gap which was too apparent this season

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  43. Isn't Jones (gk) an Australian?

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  44. Totally agree. I made this point the other day when Jaimie said we'd made no headway in the league in the last 5 years. Like you I feel it's unfair to judge Rodgers on the failures of others prior to his arrival. He can surely only be judged on the time he's been at the club and in that time we've made huge progress.

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  45. YouDontKnowNaffin7:35 pm, March 06, 2015

    I don't really understand your point. Surely the concern of a player replicating their form for one club and doing so for Liverpool is the basis of any future transfer and not constrained only to the Milner transfer?


    In order to assuage that concern, I would contend that Milner has proven one of the most effective players during his time at the three English teams he has played for. And when I say effective, of course I don't mean he has been the most creative at City. But when you're given the wide-ranging, multi-role position in a squad of playing full back one week and then as a sole striker, it clearly shows you've got tactical acumen and the requisite skill set.


    Although I'm not saying you are part of the unfounded Milner backlash, I really don't understand why there such anti-sentiment towards him. Anyone who saw the LFC vs MC game at Anfield last year couldn't have missed that he was the key player in shifting the advantage in City's favour.


    This may all be a moot point if he signs a new deal, but what does it say about the player that he's willing - at least as has been speculated -- to turn down higher wages at City for lower wages and more game time at LFC. It's this very last point that highlights why the comparison to Cole is unfair.

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  46. YouDontKnowNaffin7:39 pm, March 06, 2015

    Actually, both of us are wrong. I misread the overall breakdown, but Gerrard was the league leader in assists.

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  47. "I don't really understand your point.Surely the concern of a player replicating their form for one club and doing so for Liverpool is the basis of any future transfer and not constrained only to the Milner transfer?"
    That's a true statement, but I'm not the one calling for James Milner and putting his stats from this season directly into our side and making a case for Liverpool getting him on that basis.That's my point.
    To support your comment and pour cold water over JK's view you said Milner would be Liverpool's second top scorer and our joint top assist maker.He plays for Man City in another system with other players.
    A player making the exact same production switch from one team to another is highly unlikely and a fantasy thought process.Football isn't that simple.
    "Although I'm not saying you are part of the unfounded Milner backlash, I really don't understand why there's such anti-sentiment towards him."
    I can't speak for others.My view is there are better, younger, cheaper wage options in the transfer market.
    James Milner made a huge impact when came on against Liverpool last season.He also produced a similar display in a CL match.I never limit our transfer options by only wanting players who put in big performances against us.
    The fourth paragraph... let's not give Milner credit using media speculation.Wait and see what happens.
    YouDontKnowNaffin, I disagree with most of the points in your post, but your comment was structured well.The second paragraph was worded so perfectly you almost had me convinced:)

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  48. No please. No defining quality apart from hardworking isn't good enough. If he was available on a free & was on a 40k a week contract then possibly.

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  49. Slot in right next to Hendersoninho nicely

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  50. Yes, but home grown is different criteria - regardless of country of birth/origin a player 'll be considered home grown if he spends certain number od days in ENG's youth system between the age of 16 to 21.

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