Chelsea to enter race for James Milner as Aston Villa keep Man City waiting
The two clubs have yet to come to an agreement, a situation which is thought to have prompted Chelsea to increase their interest in the England midfielder. City, having declared their hand some weeks ago, are keen to secure Milner as soon as possible - especially in light of Chelsea's interest - and according to some, they have managed to convince the 24 year-old to agree to a five-year deal at Eastlands worth around £80,000 a week. However, Aston Villa are happy to play on the fact that England manager Fabio Capello has banned his players from transfer talk during the World Cup, and use the time to hold out for £30m. The club have only received one formal offer to date - a £20m bid from City last month - but it looks increasingly likely that Chelsea will enter the race after the club failed to agree new contracts with Joe Cole and Michael Ballack. Randy Lerner, the Villa owner, said this month that the club would do everything possible to retain their £12m record signing. Indeed, he and Martin O'Neill met with Milner, who has two years left to run on his current deal, before England flew to South Africa, and offered him a new contract worth around £70,000 a week. The commonly held view, however, is that Milner, voted the Young Player of the Year by his peers last season, will leave Villa Park once he returns from South Africa, either for a considerably more impressive pay cheque, or a chance to play football in the Champions League with Chelsea.
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