An interesting transfer nugget has been shared in The Independent today, who’ve revealed that Rafa Benitez held discussions with Liverpool over the summer in an attempt to bring former NUFC midfielder James Milner back to St James’ Park.
Milner played 136 times across 4 years on Tyneside, but was sold to Villa for £12m back in August 2008.
At 31, he’s now reaching the twilight years of his career and with that has seen his playing time at Anfield seriously decrease this season, starting just two of Liverpool’s eight league games so far.
Here’s the interesting passage in The Independent today which stated that summer talks between Newcastle and Liverpool did in fact take place over a possible deal for the versatile Milner:
“A transfer story lost to the summer: the one about James Milner and the discussions Liverpool had with Newcastle United over a move.
“Milner was not up for sale but when one of your highest paid players has two seasons left on a contract and is not in the side every week at 31 years of age, possibilities are inevitably explored.”
“That Milner remained said more about financial inflexibilities at Newcastle because Liverpool were not going to let him go for nothing even though they signed him for nothing.
“He has started just two games since, both in the Premier League – the last before tonight a month ago. In the two Champions League group stage matches, he had not made it off the bench.”
In fairness, there is logic behind this from Benitez – but perhaps his alleged high wages and our unwillingness to pay a fee was the key reason a deal never got done here.
He may be knocking on now, but he is an honest, hard working player who would fit well into the ethos Rafa is building at NUFC. It’s also worth mentioning that the signings of Daryl Murphy and Jesus Gamez have shown that Benitez is more than happy to bring in experience – something this young team possibly lacks?
As he has shown over the years, Milner would have also been capable of doing a job in a few areas of the pitch, especially at left-back – an area he has been used in most recently and a position Benitez was clearly keen to bolster over the summer.
Not one we knew anything about over the summer and not one we’ll lose sleep over either, but an interesting little nugget here nonetheless. Might we revisit this in January if he continues to see little game time at Liverpool? We shall see.
Would you have been happy to have signed Milner over the summer, or are you quite glad we didn’t?!