The summer long pursuit of James Milner could finally end with the blues set to offer Stephen Ireland in exchange for the England man.
Ireland has fallen out of favour at Eastlands and could be seen as the ideal replacement for Milner in the eyes of Martin O’Neill. The Villa manager has now resigned himself to losing Milner, who was the subject of a £20m bid prior to the start of the World Cup.
O’Neill had hoped to keep the midfielder but it has become clear that Milner’s heart is set on a move to Eastlands and O’Neill admitted the former Newcastle man is on the verge of a move to City after keeping him out of the club’s friendly against Valencia.
“We didn’t play him against Valencia as there could be something happening in terms of the transfer over the weekend or Monday or Tuesday,” said O’Neill.
On Friday, City boss Roberto Mancini claimed he was hopeful of tying up a deal for Milner as well as coming to an agreement over the on-off transfer of Italian teenage Mario Balotelli, but said he would “not pay too high a price” for the youngster. “We are speaking with Inter and we will try to get an agreement.”
Mancini also revealed that he is due to have talks with Brazilian misfit Robinho. The British transfer record signing has been on loan at Santos for six months but is unlikely to remain there with the Brazilian club unable to afford to keep him. “I worked with him for one month, then he decided to go back to Brazil,” said Mancini. “There was no pressure from me but now I must speak with him because it is very difficult for him to stay at Santos.”
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