Villa reject £20m bid for Milner

James Milner

Manchester City have offered £20m for Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, BBC Sport understands.

The England international was recently named PFA Young Player of the Year following an impressive season for Martin O’Neill’s team.

The Leeds-born 24-year-old, who joined Villa from Newcastle for £12m in 2008, is halfway through a four-year deal.

Villa owner Randy Lerner said last week the club will do "everything" in their power to ensure Milner stays.

Premier League and FA Cup Double winners Chelsea and Manchester United have also been linked with Milner, though United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has talked of this summer’s transfer market as being "very difficult".

Villa have secured Europa Cup football for next season having finished runners-up to Manchester United in the Carling Cup final and will not want to lose another influential midfielder to City following the departure of Gareth Barry for £12m last season.

City, funded by the deep pockets of Abu Dhabi-based owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, are close to signing Germany international defender Jerome Boateng from Hamburg for £11m.

More signings are expected this summer as City push for a coveted Champions League spot having just missed out to Tottenham this season.

Milner has been in a rich vein of form this season, helping Villa finish sixth in the Premier League and reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup, since O’Neill switched him from wide midfield to a more central position.

He has also become a regular in the England squad under Fabio Capello, and is widely tipped to be part of the 23-man squad for the World Cup in South Africa.

If City, who will also play in the Europa League next season, do sign Milner it will then boost their contingent of "homegrown" footballers as required by new Premier League rules.

At the end of the August transfer window Premier League clubs are required to include eight homegrown footballers in a 25-man squad.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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