By Amir Mir
Newcastle sold James Milner to Aston Villa eight years ago because they thought they could sign Bastian Schweinsteiger, former Toon coach Terry McDermott has revealed.
Former England international Milner moved to Villa Park from St James’ Park in August 2008 for a fee believed to be in the region of £12million, although McDermott suggests the actual figure was £15million.
The 30-year-old was managed by Kevin Keegan at the time, with the former Toon boss resigning from his post days after Milner’s sale.
The club’s board at the time [Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise] thought they had lined up a bid for Germany and Bayern Munich star Schweinsteiger for the price they sold Milner.
But McDermott revealed soon after selling Milner they were given a much bigger price tag for the now World Cup winner.
“We were actually at the club when we sold him [Milner], myself and Kevin Keegan,” said McDermott as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “We sold him for 15 million quid. The story goes – and this is a true story – we didn’t want him to leave but we needed to get other players in because we’d had a bid of 15 million quid.
“Kevin said ‘if we sell him for 15 million quid, how are we going to replace him?’
“They said ‘we’ve already got one – Schweinsteiger’. He’s at Man United now but seven or eight years ago he was a superstar and they said we could get him
“The idea of accepting the bid of 15 million for Milner, which was a lot of money then, and then we’re looking to get Schweinsteiger it’s a no brainer.
“But after he’s signed for Villa – the day after – we’re trying to sign Schweinsteiger and the answer was ‘absolutely no chance, it will cost you £50 million if you wanted to buy Schweinsteiger’.
“So we had no one to replace him. But he was irreplaceable anyway because he could play anywhere.”
Leeds-born Milner has gone on to make 423 appearances in the Premier League scoring 45 goals and providing 71 assists.
He left Villa Park in 2010 in a big money move to Manchester City, where he lifted two Premier League trophies before moving to Anfield on a free transfer in 2015.
Milner played on 134 occasions for the Toon Army scoring 11 goals and providing 12 assists.
By contrast German international Schweinsteiger has made 31 appearances for Manchester United since his £14.4 million move from Bayern Munich in 2015.
In other Newcastle transfer news, DeAndre Yedlin has explained the difference between Tottenham and the north east.