Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday August 17 2010
1) So, Man City are taking another of our top midfielders, what do you make of the transfer?
Milner is undoubtedly a quality player, his exploits over the last few seasons culminating in a world cup call-up, as well as the PFA Young Player of the Year and 2010 PFA Premier League Team of the Year awards.
His attributes have been sorely missed in the City squad, with fans crying out for a decent box-to-box midfielder ever since Michael Johnson was injured during Sven`s era.
I expect he will make a great acquisition, although the £30m price tag that was stuck on him was ridiculous.
Most City fans would have preferred to go for Ozil, Gourcuff or Hamsik, who represent far better value for money at £15m-£20m, and have arguably the same level of ability.
Obviously we will all welcome Milner with open arms, but City fans are certainly not happy about the price, a player worth £16m at best.
2) The rumoured amount is around £18million and of course Stephen Ireland. I'd argue we have the better part of the deal. Opinion?
Stephen Ireland is rated £12m, so we are still paying the £30m than MON demanded. If the deal was £18m without Ireland, then I would say it was fair, but his inclusion means that you are undoubtedly getting the better part of the deal.
We certainly need a player like Milner to link our overly defensive midfield with our forwards, so getting Milner in is an important step. Unfortunately, we caved in to Villa`s excessive demands instead of taking a gamble on one of the aforementioned players, and now we are lining your pockets and giving you an equally good player in return.
3) So what sort of player are we getting in Stephen Ireland?
While Ireland may not have had the best of seasons, his talent is undeniable. His quick passing and vision make him an excellent attacking midfielder. If he is sitting in the hole behind a striker like Agbonlahor then he could cause mayhem for opposition defences, including our own!
His biggest weakness is his mentality; he is a player who does not like stepping out of his comfort zone. While he could regain the impressive form that saw him come a close second behind Ashley Young in the PFA Young Player of the Year award a few seasons ago, he could equally find it hard to settle at a new club and bomb.
Richard Dunne should help him settle, and if the Villa fans give him time to adapt to his new surroundings, he could flourish. We don`t call him 'Superman` just for his underpants.
4) A lot is said about his off field stuff - most ignore his charity work - any opinions, just a young lad spending big or....?
The Grannygate incident with the Ireland squad and his subsequent retirement from international football is perhaps the lowest point in his career. He has also become known for an obscene taste in cars and spending approximately £174m per week on tropical fish.
Like I said, his biggest weakness is his mentality!
However, as you stated in the question, most ignore his charity work. Stephen dedicates a lot of his time to 'The Stephen Ireland Foundation` a personal charity that helps to raise money for Francis House Children's Hospice.
He is still relatively young and although he has made some mistakes with his off field antics, he shouldn`t be judged too harshly. City`s rise has thrust him into the spotlight and the sudden attention could have an effect on any young star.
5) You surprised that you have done this swap and just how many midfielders do you need?
I think most City fans are disappointed to see Ireland go in a swap deal, although we almost sold him to Sunderland for £2m a couple of seasons ago!
Ireland could have found his form again playing with the likes of Silva and YaYa Toure, but we only have room for 25 players and so sacrifices must be made.
In a box-to-box role it certainly raises questions as to who will play along side Milner. We have Nigel de Jong, YaYa Toure, Patrick Viera, and of course, Gareth Barry to choose from. Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta can also slot into midfield.
Fortunately, as well as being able to play in a box-to-box role, Milner has the versatility to play on the wings. This is an important element to bringing him in as he will provide much needed cover for Shaun Wright-Phillips. It also means that when he is not selected to play in the middle, he has the ability to play elsewhere.
It will be hard to keep everyone happy, but we are in Europe this season and Mancini has made every cup competition a priority - we are aiming for silverwear. This should allow for everyone to get some quality match time, although inevitably, some will be on the bench more than others.
6) How has Gareth Barry been for you and how do you think he feels with another midfielder incoming?
I think Barry has done well since coming into the side. He started exceptionally well, although an injury saw him lose form at the end of the season.
He lacks pace but that has never been a part of his game. He is one of those players that could be playing at the top level until he is 35-years-old.
He will be under intense pressure to perform consistently with Milner coming in, although I think he will play an important part for us this season and after having time to gel with his new team-mates, we should see the best of him.
Barry will be difficult for Milner to oust, although as mentioned before, he can be used on the wings so he will not be short of playing time.
With thanks to eighthsin from Vital Man City
Date:Tuesday August 17 2010
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