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Manchester City nip in quick for 24m Aston Villa star James Milner as Chelsea express interest

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17 May 2010 09:01:10

Manchester City nip in quick for 24m Aston Villa star James Milner as Chelsea express interest

Manchester City will give the first sign in the next 48 hours of their summer transfer spending power with an offer for Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, thought to be £24million. Mindful of Fabio Capello's rule that England players must not negotiate transfers during World Cup duty, City have moved quickly. In demand: Chelsea are also keen on Milner They expect Chelsea to compete for Milner and want to declare their interest first. Villa are expecting Chelsea to match City's offer this week. Sources close to the player believe Villa will demand closer to £30m to even consider selling Milner, 24, which would make him one of the most expensive signings in English football history. The England midfielder has had an excellent season with Aston Villa, but City believe Randy Lerner is ready to cash in on the former Leeds and Newcastle star. Lerner has told manager Martin O'Neill he must sell before he can buy. O'Neill is likely to resist the transfer, but it would enable him to add to his squad this summer. Selling the popular Milner for £24m would represent a 100 per cent profit for Villa, who signed him from Newcastle for £12m in 2008. Milner, who has represented England at under 16. under 17, under 19, under 20 and under 21 level, as well as senior level, has been destined for great things since bursting on to the scene as a 16-year-old at Leeds. Milner last night found himself embroiled in disrupted preparations for next month's World Cup due to the ash cloud flight chaos and the weather at the training camp for Fabio Capello's England squad in the Austrian Alps. Money man: Villa would be prepared to sell Milner if they received an offer close to £30m The England boss will reluctantly start the team's training in Hertfordshire if Iceland's volcanic ash cloud prevents him from taking them to their high-altitude base in Irdning as planned today. Twenty-five of England's 30-man provisional squad are due to fly from Heathrow to Austria today - those involved in the FA Cup final will join them on Wednesday - but the FA were yesterday making contingency plans after predictions that British airspace could close again this week. If it does, Capello will use Arsenal's training ground, but his players would lose the advantage of practising at altitude. And the squad's usual hotel in Hertfordshire, The Grove, cannot accommodate them this week, so they would have to move to Bedfordshire's five-star Luton Hoo hotel. New deal: Capello will remain as England boss until the 2012 European Championships Capello is concerned the ash cloud could prevent players holidaying abroad, as Wayne Rooney has been, from making it back for the camp. Even if they all get there, there are fears the squad could get stuck in Irdning if flights are cancelled later. England are due to return home on Sunday ahead of a friendly with Mexico at Wembley next Monday. The weather, meanwhile, is as bad as Austrians have had it at this time of year. Torrential rain and temperatures as low as 6 degrees Centigrade are forecast for the next few days, which is not quite what Capello intended. On a chaotic day at the FA, there was one piece of good news, however. Capello has committed to England beyond the World Cup, bringing some vital stability to an organisation rocked by the resignation of Lord Triesman. When the Italian became England boss more than two years ago, a clause in his contract allowed both parties to walk away without paying any compensation. Last week Capello agreed to have the clause removed from his four-and-a-half -year contract, which runs until the 2012 European Championship. Tottenham captain Ledley King yesterday also signed a new deal, for two more years with Spurs. King, whose outstanding performances this season have put him in England's preliminary World Cup squad, will stay at the club until 2012. 'I could never see myself going anywhere else,' he said.  Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov tells his team to find a ruthless streak next seasonDouble tops for Chelsea! Elite club membership launched in 1889 beckonsTHE MIDLANDER: Cherish Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner, an honest fan among the cheats, crooks and conmen of footballASTON VILLA FC


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