James Milner’s move to Manchester City appears to be moving closer after Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill said the midfielder can leave.
City have made an improved £24 million bid for the England midfielder although Villa are believed to want closer to £30 million.
O’Neill told Villa’s website: “The state of affairs is really straightforward. James and his agent came to see us before the World Cup and intimated that they would like to go. Then Manchester City made the offer, which we told them about. There is a difference of valuation at this moment between the buying club and the selling club. That may well be resolved and if that is the case then absolutely fine.
“I think James’ agent has told our chief executive that he wouldn’t be signing a new contract. Obviously that puts a different slant on things, like everything else. If a fee is agreed, at the end of the day, the player can leave.”
A significant fee for Milner would allow the Northern Irishman to pursue other targets, which are reported to include Celtic winger Aiden McGeady.
O’Neill told the BBC: “There’s no point in me mentioning names but, without wanting to lose players of the calibre of Milner, we would want to try to recruit some players. But, as the chairman said at the back end of last season, it’s probably going to be a case of having to sell to buy and that’s something I’m delving into at the moment. I think Aiden McGeady has the ability to play in the Premier League, without question.”
West Ham star Scott Parker is another who has been linked with a move to Villa Park, but Hammers co-owner David Sullivan this week said their rivals would “not have enough money” to tempt them to sell the 29-year-old.