During a Q&A session at The Athletic (subscription needed), Phil Hay teased about James Milner potential return to Leeds United. Although the reporter did reveal that it will undoubtedly be difficult for the Whites to sign the Liverpool midfielder, he claimed that he could be an asset for Marcelo Bielsa’s team.
Hay had this to say, “And he’d be perfect for Leeds in certain respects. He’s under contract, though, and his wage will be hefty. Klopp continues to make good use of him. So plenty of obstacles. And there’s no denying that Milner would be a real asset for the Whites, even as he approaches the twilight of his career.”
Does James Milner have any future at Liverpool?
Milner has enjoyed an incredibly successful spell at Liverpool under the management of Jurgen Klopp. The former English international has helped his club win the Champions League last season and had a part to play in their incredible Premier League run in the ongoing campaign.
However, with the Reds seemingly keen on ushering in a new era, it could become significantly difficult for Milner to get regular game-time. In fact, he has only mustered seven league starts in the current season.
The 34-year-old has indeed found himself trailing Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Giorginio Wijnaldum in the pecking order. And although he still has a contract until 2022, it might be time for Milner to make the next and perhaps the last step in his career.
How Milner could benefit Leeds United
Milner could potentially turn out to be an excellent coup for Leeds United. The Englishman is currently one of the most well-established players in the United Kingdom, having made a whopping 534 appearances in the English top flight. He has also won 61 caps for the Three Lions. And this experience at the highest level of football could surely help Leeds in the Premier League.
But aside from experience, Milner can also provide a host of tactical options for Bielsa. The fact that he can play virtually anywhere on the pitch will enable the Argentine mastermind to effortlessly rotate the squad, even though he isn’t very fond of doing so.
Having been groomed under Klopp’s Gegenpressing style of play, Milner is also likely to settle in quickly under Bielsa’s highly disciplined tactical setup at Leeds. He can provide back-up for the likes of Mateusz Klich and Kalvin Phillips in central midfield and can even be considered as an alternative for Luke Ayling at right-back.
However, it is fair to point out that the Liverpool star is likely to demand a considerable wage, as Hay rightly pointed out. And given the fact that Bielsa will already have to spend a lot to strengthen and resolve his side’s existing problems, the Whites may not be able to afford Milner this summer.
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