What now for Milner and Ireland after O’Neill quits?

The shock resignation of Martin O’Neill as Aston Villa manager is unlikely to change James Milner’s mind about wishing to leave the Midlanders and join City. But what about Stephen Ireland’s move in the opposite direction?

A deal involving cash plus Ireland for Milner was supposedly near to completion with Roberto Mancini optimistic of having the England midfielder in his squad by Thursday. If Ireland decides he no longer wants to join Villa then City would be back to having to agree a cash only deal. This may prove trickier as each club’s valuation of Milner has differed widely.

There’s a chance Villa might try to keep hold of Milner until they appoint a new manager. This would be unlikely as the reason the player wants to leave is to join the City ‘project’ rather than to get away from O’Neill. A new Villa manager is unlikely to alter Milner’s position.

For Ireland the situation may be worse. Martin O’Neill has often been able to focus players minds and get the best out of them. The return to form of Richard Dunne last season is a prime example. O’Neill also tends to keep faith with a settled side and Ireland ought to have been playing week-in week-out, something he craves.

Stevie now knows he is surplus to requirements at City, a situation unlikely to improve his state of mind. Yet moving from a potential trophy winning side like City to one without a manager at Villa cannot be an appealing prospect.

One sticking point in Ireland’s move to Villa was alleged to be his wages. Clubs like Everton or Sunderland, outside the champions league, will struggle to match the £70k per week he’s believed to be on at City.

With rumours that Mesut Ozil is set to join Barcelona doing the rounds today, could United or Arsenal turn their attention to Ireland? It might be unlikely, but stranger things have happened in the last weeks of a transfer window.

  • How do you think O’Neill’s departure will affect the futures of Milner and Ireland?
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  1. lets get O’Neil on board and sack that useless platt.

  2. I couldn’t believe the deal was £24M + Ireland (the player, not the country).

    I don’t think Milner is £24M better than Ireland. And he’s got a square head.

    The season before last, every game we would he the commentator say “cut out by Ireland” as Stephen karate-kicked some cross to one of our players.

    I think kick-boxing training made an already skilful player one of the best volleyers of the ball in football. The only reason for the £24M price difference is that Ireland’s brain is broken again. When he’s happy, he’s one of the most consistant players in the premiership.

  3. Trouble with Ireland is that he isn’t blessed with brains as witnessed over the ” dead grannie ” situation with the republic of ireland.

    Talented but simply has not risen to to the challenge of fighting for his place and making it impossible for Mancini to sell him.

    Has great potential, but simply hasn’t knuckled down to the task.

    Better for him to move and try an re-establish his best performances , all too infrequently displayed during his time at City.

    Been around the first team for four/five years but not established his place.

  4. It’s Ireland for me every time.
    Truly brilliant player…
    CITY will regret losing him I’m afraid.

  5. Stephen Ireland has a delicate mind to say the least. I don’t think fighting for superiority in a midfield suits him too well. I think a move to a club like Villa would be great for him. The idea that Milner is worth 24 mill more than him is laughable. Milner is worth about 7 mill on his own. He’s a distinctly average player. Another insane move from City really. There have been some great ones ie. Boateng, but there really have been some howlers.

  6. How will City regret loosing Superman when he rarely puts in a shift when given a chance? He can only play central mid behind the striker, and can’t tackle for tofee. If he sells the fish he can afford a drop in money and move on.

  7. GaryCooksNapkin
    10 August 2010 - 3:39 pm

    You’ve only gotta look at his bizzare collection of pink-wheeled’ cars to know his head isn’t in the right place.

    Better the Squarehead than the Badhead… not 24m better by anyones book, but then “nice club” Villa are taking us for a ride over it…

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