It is understood the mega rich club have identified the versatile winger as their top transfer target with City's Abu Dhabi owners willing to sanction another huge spending spree at Eastlands in the close season to boost their quest for silverware next term.
And Milner is at the top of their list after Villa boss Martin O'Neill last week signalled he expects a host of suitors for the 24-year-old when the window re-opens in July.
On the move: Manchester City have reportedly identified Milner as their top target
Villa, who last year sold former captain Gareth Barry to City, face a major battle to keep hold of Milner with interest expected to soar in him at home and abroad, particularly if he has a good World Cup, with England boss Fabio Capello among his admirers.
In demand: Villa face a £24m battle to keep Milner
In-form Milner has two years left to run on his existing deal at Villa Park and the club are prepared to keep negotiations on an extension on hold until after the World Cup.
O'Neill is determined that Milner stays at the club while he is in charge but with uncertainty over the Villa manager's future could see City step in with a £24million bid.
City's football administrator Brian Marwood, who will oversee the club's transfer movements this summer, reportedly knows Milner well from his employment at Nike, who have the midfielder contracted with a lucrative boot deal.
And, of course, City would have no problem doubling Milner's current £45,000-a-week wages but the move is largely dependant on their own bid to qualify for the Champions League next season and Villa's own uncertainty over manager O'Neill.
Rivals Manchester United are also mooted to be closely monitoring Milner's future too.
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