Klopp reveals James Milner stance as Aston Villa transfer links grow

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is keen to hold on to veteran midfielder James Milner as Aston Villa consider making a move for their former star

Milner originally moved to Villa Park on a season-long loan move from Newcastle United and spent the 2005/06 campaign working under David O’Leary.

Milner returned to Tyneside at the end of the season and had to wait until August 2008 to become a permanent Villa player in a deal believed to be worth around £13.5million.

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His time at Villa Park was relatively short and he departed two years later as his form in claret and blue attracted the attention of Manchester City, who were basking in new-found wealth following their recent takeover by Sheikh Mansour.

Milner went on to become a two-time Premier League champion and also lifted the FA Cup and Capital One Cup at the Etihad before going on to enjoy even more success following a free transfer switch to Liverpool in July 2015.

Milner helped the Reds to their first top-flight title in 30 years and also lifted the Champions League for the first and only time in his career in 2019.

Andy Reid. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Andy Reid. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Andy Reid. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“I had an amazing time at Villa”

But his time at Villa Park has always remained close to his heart, as revealed in an interview given shortly after his departure to Manchester City.

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He said: “Villa came very close to winning a trophy, they had a lot of good players but were just that tiny bit short of getting to the next level.

“They needed to bring players in but it became clear from (former owner) Randy Lerner that Villa might have to sell to buy.

“It made me think City had a better chance of progressing and challenging for trophies.

“I had a great time at Villa and improved as a player but City is a club going places very quickly.”

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And speaking to BT Sport in 2019, he said: “I had an amazing time at Villa.

“We had an exciting team at the time, I think we were one of the most exciting to watch, especially away from home we were very good and defensively very solid.”

Jurgen Klopp embraces James Milner after he is substituted in Liverpool’s draw against Man City. Picture: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty ImagesJurgen Klopp embraces James Milner after he is substituted in Liverpool’s draw against Man City. Picture: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp embraces James Milner after he is substituted in Liverpool’s draw against Man City. Picture: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

“He is desperate to play on”

Villa boss Steven Gerrard is said to be keen on a reunion with his former Liverpool team-mate, who is currently in the final months of his existing deal at Anfield.

But Reds manager Klopp is planning to hold talks with the 36-year-old and insisted Milner will play on for another season.

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“I am in talks with Millie and we will see,” said the Reds boss.

“There’s no chance that Millie will retire next year. He is desperate to play on, and I understand it to be honest.

“Life after a career, when you are lucky enough to stay healthy, it’s normally much longer than your career, so you should extend your career as long as you can.

“Millie will be fine after his career, but he obviously loves what he is doing.

“He will play football next year definitely.”

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