June 02, 2015 14:53:32 UK
Liverpool are expected to complete a deal for midfielder James Milner on a free transfer this week.
Milner has snubbed the offer of a new contract at Manchester City, who are 4.00 to win the Premier League next term, and is expected to be confirmed as Liverpool’s first signing of the summer following talks in the next few days.
The England international has been a target of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers for some time and the 29-year-old is keen on a switch to Anfield as he would not have to relocate from the north west. Arsenal also hold an interest in the former Newcastle and Aston Villa man, but all the indications are that he will choose a move to Liverpool instead.
The fact the Reds are not in the Champions League next season does not appear to have put Milner off joining, while the fact the Merseysiders can offer him a regular starting role in the centre of midfield – something that was far from a guarantee for him at City – also appeals.
Milner is likely to be offered a generous salary package by Liverpool as he is arriving on a free transfer and he could even be handed the captaincy following Steven Gerrard’s exit to MLS.
The midfielder has been at the Etihad since 2011 and has helped City win the Premier League twice but he has run down his contract and is keen for a new challenge at Anfield.
Liverpool are hoping to get much of their summer transfer business done as early as possible and will hope to follow up the expected capture of Milner with deals for free-agent Danny Ings and Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, while they remain keen on Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne despite having one offer in the region of £10million for him already turned down.
They will hope to improve on their recent sixth-place finish in the Premier League next season and are 3.75 to finish in the top four in 2015-16.
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