It looks as though we’re imminently going to complete the Bosman signing of James Milner (via BBC Sport), with the 29-year-old Englishman expected to arrive on July 1st.
If this is so, he’ll be our first confirmed signing of an interesting summer – with the squad needing major improvements to give ourselves the best chance of finishing in the top four next term.
One of the advantages of Milner, along with his experience and title winning credentials, is his almost unrivalled versatility.
And with Brendan Rodgers known for using various tactical set-ups, the England international could be used in a variety of positions and roles come 2015/16.
We’ve outlined just a few – and explained how he’d fulfil them.
Central midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3…
This is the position Milner would most like to play, and the reason he doesn’t want to stay at the Etihad, reckons Manchester Evening News.
According to WhoScored, he was only given two central midfield starts in the Premier League all season in this role last term. It’s where he was often so brilliant for Aston Villa though, and why City splashed out £26m on him back in 2010… In this respect, it could be argued that Milner is a Steven Gerrard replacement option. While he can’t pass like our legendary departing skipper, he’ll cover more ground, is sharper over short distances and is arguably more disciplined.
He’d need a genuine holding midfielder alongside him in the 4-2-3-1 though, such are his attacking tendencies, meaning we can’t see him being used in a natural midfield pivot with Jordan Henderson – who would also be creatively wasted as an anchorman.
Instead, deploying Milner and Henderson in a slightly advanced central midfield role in front of a natural defensive midfielder (like Lucas, Emre Can or a new signing…) seems to make more sense.