Headlines of late have been fairly dominated by the position of Manuel Pellegrini, yet with his future looking more assured with City's late season flourish matters have once again turned to potential player movement.
One name in particular, James Milner, has been the main focus during 2014/15, his contract at the club on the verge of expiring. We have heard next to nothing from the Milner camp over the course of the season, whereas in contrast Pellegrini has been keen to praise his importance to the squad at various points.
Perhaps stung by some criticism over the weekend that City had not done enough to retain him we saw a raft of articles late Monday in which it was confirmed that the offer on the table to Milner is a not insignificant one: four years and in the region of £165,000 per week. If indeed Milner is stalling over a contract of that size his reported preference for a greater role in the side may not be a smokescreen.
There is no doubt that should Milner go - and the odds must now be on him doing so - he will be extremely difficult to replace. His versatility is without question, and often masks a far superior quality to his play than he is credited with, and he of course possesses that most crucial of aspects in being homegrown.
To adequately replace Milner would see significantly in debit considering he would leave on a free, yet City do need to be careful to avoid getting themselves into a contract that in the long term may prove detrimental.
We know all about the issues with the ageing of the current squad, with this summer surely seeing a drive towards youth, yet to offer a player who is 29 years of age a four year deal at the wage level is a huge risk. Milner appears to be fit individual, but age curves are not favourable post-30 and despite his importance to the squad Milner is not one of the key core. With Financial Fair Play (FFP) still a huge consideration despite City likely passing the test this summer the level of financial commitment is also a huge issue.
It is unlikely that Milner is playing hardball here, and that his reasons for contemplating a potential move to Liverpool or Arsenal are reasonable. City too, probably know this, and feel that they are in a position where they need to offer a financial incentive to sway his decision (much like in the early days post-takeover). The real worry is that they may be heading down a road that will provide some short term benefit but damage them in the longer term.