EXCLUSIVE | By Merseyside correspondent Cam Downes
Liverpool have offered James Milner a four-year contract as they attempt to persuade the Manchester City midfielder to move to Anfield this summer.
The Merseysiders have made their move in a bid to win the race to sign the England international ahead of a string of Premier League and overseas clubs.
Milner, 29, is out of contract in the summer, when he can join another English club on a free transfer. He has been able to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club since January but is expected to remain in the Premier League.
Milner has rejected a series of attempts by City to tie him to a new long-term contract, with manager Manuel Pellegrini admitting one factor could be the player’s desire for regular first-team football.
Pellegrini has made it clear that he wants Milner to stay, describing him last month as a “phenomenon” and English football’s “most complete player”.
Liverpool believe their offer of a four-year deal, combined with the lure of regular first-team football, could be enough to persuade Milner to move to Anfield.
Speaking in January, manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that he is an admirer of Milner. “James is a wonderful player,” said Rodgers. “He’s been an outstanding footballer since the time I saw him at Leeds as a young player.”
Milner’s ability to play in virtually any position, including central midfield, attacking midfield, full-back and even as a withdrawn striker have made him a leading target for Liverpool.
The club’s transfer policy is to buy and develop young players with sell-on value but the recruitment team regard Milner as a good value option, given that there would be no transfer fee involved for a player who could be expected to fetch around £20m if he was under contract.