Martin O'Neill admits it would be no surprise if the Premier League top clubs showed an interest in Aston Villa midfielder James Milner.
But the Villa manager insists there was no bust-up with chairman-owner Randy Lerner over unfounded reports that Milner was to be sold to Manchester United.
And, while his own future may be in doubt, O'Neill is also adamant that Lerner is not set to quit the midlands club.
O'Neill said: 'There was a story that I had fallen out with the chairman because of a supposedly imminent transfer of James Milner to Manchester United.
'James would be worthy of playing in a side like that. I wouldn't think for one minute that top clubs wouldn't be interested in James Milner.
'He has been splendid for us this season but there is not one ounce of truth in the story. It is ludicrous.'
O'Neill has spent a net £80million on new players in his four years at Villa.
He believes those players have increased significantly in value should Lerner ever decide he wants to leave Villa.
But O'Neill is confident that is far from the case with Lerner who also owns NFL side Cleveland Browns.
He said: 'Since I arrived here four years ago, I've invested £80m of the chairman's money and if he wanted to sell some of those assets - which he has not intimated at all - he would get that money back, and with a bit of interest as well.
'If you wanted to let four or five of the top quality players leave this club, you would get your money back but that has not been Randy's notion and I think he is trying to think about improving Villa Park as well.
'I don't think he is ready to walk away or worry himself unduly about his investment at all because he knows it is there on the pitch. We have a number of top quality players at this club.'
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