Milner deal takes City spending past £1billion mark
Published 23:00 18/08/10 By David McDonnell
James Milner took Manchester City’s spending to astonishing new levels last night when he finally completed his protracted move.
Milner’s arrival from Aston Villa, in a £26million package that saw Stephen Ireland go the other way, sent City’s total lay-out under mega-rich owner Sheikh Mansour through the £1billion barrier.
The extraordinary spree, described by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson this week as “kamikaze”, offered conclusive proof - if any more were needed - of City’s relentless drive to become the biggest name in the game.
In the two years since he took control at Eastlands, the oil-rich Arab has used his seemingly limitless financial might to turn City into the richest club in the world and is showing no signs of slowing down.
A total of £355m has been spent on transfers, £487.8m has been committed to wages for new players and those on existing contracts, while the initial takeover itself cost £210m.
Add to that £20m spent on stadium and training ground improvements, and the magical figure of £1.08bn is reached.
City’s Premier League rivals will be pleased to know their spending in this transfer window is over, according to boss Roberto Mancini who was speaking ahead of tonight’s first-leg Europa League play-off tie here against Timisoara of Romania.
Milner’s arrival on a five-year, £120,000-a week-deal came too late for him to be included tonight but he will make his debut in the Premier League next Monday at home against Liverpool.
“I’m very happy to have James with us,” said Mancini. “Everybody knows we have admired him for sometime. He can play in every position and we need that. His favourite position is in the middle, but he can play wide like he does for England.”
Robinho did not travel with the City squad to Romania, with the club and player both hopeful of concluding a deal that would see the Brazil World Cup star leave before the close of the transfer window. Schalke and Besiktas are interested in the £32.5m forward, following his failed two-year spell at City.
Ireland, valued at £8m in the swap that took him to Villa as part of this Milner deal, is desperate for Premier League action again.
He is set to make his debut on Sunday at Newcastle and will be eligible for the club’s Europa League play-off second leg next week against Rapid Vienna. Ireland’s move ends his miserable spell at City under Mancini where he was frozen out.
He said: “I want to get back to playing the way I can - I haven’t played 90 minutes in nearly eight or nine months, which isn’t normal really for me.
“I’ve kind of forgotten the feeling of what it is like to come off after a game tired - winning or losing. I’m not used to sitting it out for so long.
“I want to get back to playing at the top of my game and I want to work hard for my team-mates.
“I want to see if my team-mates and myself can push on and achieve something massive this season.”
Ireland was known as Superman at City where, after scoring, he would flash supporters his blue and red pants in tribute to the film hero.
He added: “If the right occasion comes the fans can have something to smile about as well.”