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FINALLY! Looks like Milner out & Ireland in


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Villa & City look to have finally managed to come to an agreement over the protracted transfer of James Milner to Eastlands. Stephen Ireland and a big wad of cash are coming the other way.

It is very easy to look at this as a win-win. James Milner gets the move he wanted, the wages he wanted and Man City get the player they wanted. Villa have shown they won't be bullied and as such they have got the price they wanted, the exchange player they wanted and they have 2 weeks, to the day, left to strengthen the squad.

The deal is reported to be in the region of £26m. This is either £16m with Ireland valued at £10m or it is £18m with Ireland valued at £8m. Either way, it seems to be a stupidly good deal for Villa.

How much strengthening will happen in the absence of a confirmed manager remains to be seen. But what we can assume is that the 24 year old James Milner will be replaced in the centre of midfield by the soon-to-be-24 year old Stephen Ireland. Not a like-for-like in terms of style but they are both attacking centre mids so the swap should be seamless enough.

There is absolutely no doubting the fact that we will miss James Milner at the club. For those who had gotten used to the idea of letting him go (I was one), his performance against West Ham on Saturday only served to painfully remind us of just what we were losing. We don't know all of the reasons for the move; and we can assume personal finances played a part; but Man City are signing an absolutely class act in my opinion. A fantastic footballer who is getting better game by game. A thoroughly professional player who has been described both as a 'manager's dream' and as the next Steven Gerrard. It is a great transfer deal overall for Villa, but there is no denying that there is a good reason City have paid what they paid.

It is quite an endorsement of James that Villa fans never really missed Gareth Barry's performances from the centre of midfield. Gareth was the glue that kept the side together, yet the right winger James Milner stepped inside and the rest is history. It is ironic that James could be on his way to replacing Gareth in Man City's centre midfield. It is a pity that the future of England's central midfield will be plying his trade at Eastlands rather than at Villa Park.

Coming the other way is the enigma that is Stephen Ireland. On his day arguably a more naturally gifted footballer than Milner, capable of great vision, technique and borderline genius. In the 08/09 season, Ireland was genuinely one of the best midfielders in the league. A lot of Man City fans are not happy about this deal, not only because of the fact that we are getting a load of money, but because they're not entirely convinced that Milner is that much better than Ireland, if he is even better at all.

Ireland got injured and then a change of manager meant he was left out of the side in favour of players Mancini favoured. We can no more 2nd guess the events inside Eastlands than we can the events inside Villa Park, so we won't try. All I know is that it is probably a good thing for us that Mancini's treatment of Stephen Ireland has meant that the player's value has dropped to the rumoured £8m-£10m. A figure that does nothing to reflect the player's ability.

I am sure Stephen comes here with a point to prove. He probably feels as if he has been a bit of a pawn in a bigger deal, but to be honest if he saw the game on Saturday and if he saw the battles Man City, Villa & Spurs had last season over 4th place then he'll know that he can come in here and make a difference to a side that are not exactly lacking in quality themselves. He can get the fans on side and put last season and this summer behind him. We're ready to move on to the next level. In my view we haven't had a player tapped with genius since we had Paul Merson and we have still never replaced him. If we can get Stephen Ireland back to the form and consistency he showed as a 22 year old then I think we may have finally replaced Merse.

Welcome to the club Stephen. We look forward to you settling in as easily and as successfully as Richard Dunne did in similar circumstances last season.

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Agree with much of this. I am looking forward to seeing Ireland play off Gabby with a strong pairing in behind. I do think we need to spend some of the money on a replacement for Milner, especially with Delph injured until Christmas, as I think we need four holding or box to box CM'ers to get through a season and I would still hope that we can off load Sidwell before then. Petrov, NRC and Delph plus, ideally, Flamini would be great and give us a mix of type of player as well.

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I think this could be a bad deal. Milly is just such a fantastic player, and Ireland is a bit hit and miss for me, and we could be signing a bit of a loon too. I think the jury is out on this one.

I hope the new manager is in soon, and gets most/all of that money for new signings ...

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I bet we don't spend a penny of the Milner money and that will be telling.
Do you think we should be buying from scratch without a manager? Do you not think it would be worse to spend the future manager's transfer budget without him actually here? Me thinks people are angling to be 'right' before anything is done. Personally, for the reasons above, I think it would be worse if we DID spend any of it without hiring a manager first.
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Well if we are to get a manager it need to be before the Newcastle game. If it is to be Kev Mac, which it looks like being then he should be allowed to spend that money.

My monies on Kev Mac getting the job an not a sole being signed, with very few even linked to the club. Personally I think it's best not to spend any of it and for it to be kept until next Summer when hopefully it can be given to Martin Jol. Kev Mac to steady the ship while Lerner gets the house in order and funds and wage space for a the new manager.

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Personally I think it's best not to spend any of it and for it to be kept until next Summer when hopefully it can be given to Martin Jol

I wouldn't be against that, but your original post said that would be 'telling'. I took that to imply that it would be linked to O'Neill's reasons for walking, whereas I would only take it as meaning Randy is holding it for a full-time manager and not that he was unwilling to spend it. I do think he wouldn't have given it to O'Neill but that's a separate discussion linked to how their trust had deteriorated.

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Well yes, I think it will further point that o'neill was being denied the funds. Krulak said Kev Mac, Paul and Randy would decide transfers.

But I'm quite sure these comments are to placate fans. I'm sure we'll sign nobody and that was going to be the case under o'neill.

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But I'm quite sure these comments are to placate fans. I'm sure we'll sign nobody and that was going to be the case under o'neill.

I agree that we will sign nobody because we won't have a permanent manager until the window closes. And MON wouldn't have gotten the money because the trust was gone between them. I DO think we will sign somebody IF we have a new manager in place before the window closes though.

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I'd agree with that Brian, you couldn't get a new manager and deny him funds. I do disagree about o'neill though, he was certainly irritated by the milner sale and being denied the money was the last straw.

The deterioration of his relationship with Lerner certainly was a factor. He felt he was no longer being backed, sensed Lerner didn't have total faith in him. When that happens it is time to go. Pity people need to find a villain in the whole thing, when really there isn't one.

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Pity people need to find a villain in the whole thing, when really there isn't one.

So I take it your hysteria riddled posts about how terrible it was that Randy didn't understand the English game because he was a foreign owner weren't painting him as the "villain" then? :lol:

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But I'm quite sure these comments are to placate fans. I'm sure we'll sign nobody and that was going to be the case under o'neill.

I agree that we will sign nobody because we won't have a permanent manager until the window closes. And MON wouldn't have gotten the money because the trust was gone between them. I DO think we will sign somebody IF we have a new manager in place before the window closes though.

I don't. Unless the new manager is KM.
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Pity people need to find a villain in the whole thing, when really there isn't one.

So I take it your hysteria riddled posts about how terrible it was that Randy didn't understand the English game because he was a foreign owner weren't painting him as the "villain" then? :lol:

I acted on emotion more than any evidence then, plus in a defensive node about o'neill. But after reflecting on the whole situation I can see it was just a break down of their relationship and the new priorities of the club that lead to the departure. I was wrong in my comments about lerner. I wish others would act the same about o'neill. He did a god job and together they have brought respect back to our club. Both deserve credit for that.

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