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Milner bid rejected

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Just a day after tabling a bid of £20million for midfielder James Milner, Aston Villa - to no-one's surprise - put out a statement saying they had rejected the bid:

"We have received an offer from Manchester City for James Milner and this has been firmly rejected.

"We plan to sit down with James and his representative after the World Cup to agree a new long-term deal and this remains our position."

Doesn't this all sound a little familiar though?

£20million for a young English player set to travel to the World Cup and coming off his best season in which he was named PFA Young Player of the Year was never going to receive serious consideration, but that was surely just the opening shots in what has the potential to be as much a saga as we saw with Joleon Lescott.

Villa clearly don't want to sell, and with just two years remaining on his current deal, want to tie Milner down long term. We want to sign him, and of course have the bucketloads of cash at hand to more than match any deal Milner could receive at Milner Park.

Reports coming out of the club suggested that we were keen to tie up transfers ahead of the World Cup given Fabio Capello has reportedly told players that no deals can be negotiated whilst on England duty out in South Africa so this could benefit Villa if they can fend off interest over the next couple of weeks.

I won't go into too much more detail about Milner being a potentially good fit (it's all here) but suffice to say both Gareth Barry and Stephen Ireland will be keeping more than a watchful eye on proceedings.

It would seem strange though that the bid came out of the blue without any encouragement or sounding out of Milner beforehand. None of us are naive enough to think that the days when deals were struck between the two clubs without the influence of players, representatives and agents are still here, and the situation will be that if Milner himself wants to leave Villa to join us (or indeed any other interested club) then there is little Villa can do to keep him. All that will remain is for the two clubs to get together and agree on a fee.

City's move.