Liverpool icon turns back on expected destination to reach ‘full agreement’ with new club
The chances of Leeds United hijacking a deal for departing Liverpool midfielder James Milner are over, since he reportedly has a ‘full agreement’ to join Brighton.
Milner is very near the end of his Liverpool career after the club confirmed they will be releasing him at the end of the season. The vice-captain is keen to keep playing at a high level despite being 37 years of age.
Having spent all but six appearances of his career as a Premier League player, Milner has been looking elsewhere in the top flight.
A return to his first club Leeds has been speculated for a long time. Earlier this month, a few claims emerged that Milner’s hometown team would be actively trying to welcome him back.
However, they have always been playing catch-up, since Brighton have become strong suitors to offer him a completely new challenge.
And according to Football Insider, despite the attempts of Leeds to hijack the deal, Brighton have now reached a ‘full agreement’ to sign Milner on a free transfer.
The former England international is already looking for a new house near Brighton as he prepares to relocate to the south coast.
Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi is impressed by Milner’s experience and believes he could provide useful leadership qualities within his otherwise largely youthful squad.
Leeds won’t get to reunite with James Milner
Therefore, a fairytale return to Leeds – who are in danger of relegation to the Championship anyway – looks to be off the cards. And if it isn’t happening now, one has to wonder if it ever will.
It has always felt like destiny that Milner would one day become a Leeds player for a second spell. He has never made a secret of his fondness for the club.
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Back in November 2016, ahead of an EFL Cup match between Liverpool and Leeds, Jurgen Klopp said: “Leeds are one of the ‘great teams’ of England I believe – big history, big support.
“I know this because James Milner always tells me, again and again and again.
“Millie has told me great things about this club and this city – even when I do not ask him.”
Per Football Insider, Leeds have been keen to bring Milner back to Elland Road. However, their efforts to beat Brighton to the deal have been in vain.
The Seagulls are on course to qualify for European football for next season. Therefore, it looks like an exciting project to be part of.
It is easy to see why Brighton have caught Milner’s attention, but there will be a lingering sense of what might have been if he had returned to Leeds for a final farewell instead.